The County of Tyrol from the 12th to the 21st Century

The ancestral castle of the Counts of Tyrol, which gave its name to the land, has a rich and varied history. The first castle was built around 1100. Over the centuries, there were numerous expansions and renovations, but also the “Great Fire” around 1300, which nearly destroyed the castle to its foundations.

In 1363, the Habsburgs inherited the County of Tyrol and the castle. The famous Gothic winged altar was their contribution to Castle Tyrol. A copy of it can be seen in the castle chapel, while the original is housed in the Tyrolean State Museum Ferdinandeum. For strategic reasons, the seat of government was moved from Castle Tyrol to Innsbruck in the 15th century. This was followed by centuries of decay. However, despite its dilapidated state, Castle Tyrol remained firmly anchored in the consciousness of the people as a symbol of the land. During the Tyrolean freedom wars around 1800, the castle thus became a target for Bavarian occupiers; Castle Tyrol was plundered and publicly auctioned. After the wars, the Tyrol region returned to the Austrian Empire. The city of Meran acquired the castle and gifted it to Emperor Franz I. The present appearance of the complex is significantly shaped by monument preservation and restorations in the 19th and 20th centuries. Today, Castle Tyrol is owned by the autonomous province of Bolzano/South Tyrol and serves as its museum of cultural and provincial history.