A walk through the Feldkirch city centre draws visitors under the spell of bygone centuries. Cobblestones, narrow streets, romantic arcades and breathtakingly beautiful facades turn a city tour into an eventful journey of historical discovery.
The remains of the old city walls and lofty towers are testament to the defiant past of the seat of Montfort and the Austrian Reeves. Ancient churches, most notably the cathedral of St. Nikolaus from the late Gothic period, are worth a visit. The Chur Gate still bears witness to the city’s significance on the River Ill as a commercial and transportation hub. Merchants, travellers, itinerants and crusaders all had to pass through this gateway to the south.
The ancestral home of the Counts of Montfort until 1390. First built around 1260. Major expansion and remodelling at the beginning of the 15th century by Count Friedrich von Toggenburg (1416-1436) and around 1500 by Reeve Hans von Königsegg. Owned by the city since 1825.
CATHEDRAL OF St. Nikolaus
The city’s parish church. First mentioned in 1287. The earlier Romanesque building, seriously damaged by fires in the city (1348, 1398, 1460), was rebuilt by Hans Sturn in 1478 during the late Gothic period. Vorarlberg’s most important Gothic church. Inside is the “Beweinungsbild” by the Feldkirch painter, Wolf Huber (c. 1485-1553), Master of the Danube School. The pulpit (1520), Austria’s best example of Gothic ironwork, served as a sacramental chest until 1655.
Original building completed in 1493. The ground floor served as a granary, with the upper floor housing the Cloth Hall. Rebuilt in 1697, following the fire in the city, with the addition of the council chamber and council rooms. The outside walls were painted in 1932-1937, together with extensive renovations to incorporate the adjacent Heiliggeist hospital. Frescoes depict events in the city’s history.
KatzenTURM (CATS tOWER)
This 8-storey round tower was built in 1491-1507 by the government of Emperor Maximilian I as part of the city walls. In the 17th century, the belfry was built to house the large bell (the largest in Vorarlberg). The tower was given an image of the Virgin Mary, which was restored by Florus Scheel during the 19th century. The origin of the tower’s name can still not be fully explained. One theory suggests that the canons of the original defensive tower were supplied with cats’ heads to use for target practice.
Schützenhaus (SHOOTING GALLERY)
Feldkirch has a long tradition of marksmanship. The first Schützenhaus was located on the banks of the Ill, but was moved to its current site next to Schattenburg Castle in 1910. Renovations during World War II considerably altered the building. As well as shooting ranges, the Schützenhaus now also houses a restaurant, offices, apartments and a museum of marksmen’s targets. This contains over 200 exhibits from four centuries, depicting events in the city’s history and its historic buildings. Museum tours are available during restaurant opening times.
Former home of the world famous private Jesuit grammar school, “Stella Matutina”. This impressive building was constructed in 1900/01 by the Order, which had arrived in Feldkirch as early as 1649. Closed down by the National Socialist regime in 1938 and used as a state finance school – and later as a field hospital. The school was reopened in 1946 and existed until 1979. Since 1977, the building has housed the Vorarlberg State Conservatoire, where over 400 students now study music.
Built by the Montforts around 1260. Close to the castle stands the old St. Corneli church and its “1,000-year-old yew tree”.
Was built in 1502 and transferred to Habsburg ownership around 1510. Emperor Maximilian I did not just like to visit Feldkirch because of its wines. He also had a close relationship with Countess Helfenstein, who gave birth to his “bastard” son, Friedrich Max von Amberg, nine months after his visit to Amberg Palace. Following successful renovation, Amberg Palace is now used for social Events.