Castel Tirolo (Castle Tyrol) was built in the 12th century on a rocky spur, in a strategic position controlling the below Merano valley. It is undoubtedly the most important castle in South Tyrol, because it was the original residence of the Counts of Tyrol. It was recently renovated, and nowadays it hosts the South Tyrolean Museum of History.
Castel Tirolo was built on a moraine hill in 1138 by the counts of Tyrol (also called counts of Val Venosta) who ruled over the area and gave it its name. The castle overlooked the whole Merano valley and was created where an ancient building already existed. The stateliness of the building had to express the power of the family, which was able to unite all territories lying between the Adige and the Inn valleys.
The castle is composed by a defensive donjon, with the rests of the residential building at its side; a representation palace with a chapel whose architecture was typical of the Empire Lords, including precious 15th-century frescoes, a 14th-century wooden crucifixion, two 12th and 14th-century missals and a 16th century cassock, as well as a residential palace. The wonderful walls surrounding the building are some of the best-preserved in the region.
The castle enjoyed a two-century period of splendor, which is still witnessed by the Romanic marble portals with many decorations. A slow decay followed until the 20th century, when the renovation works began. These where firstly promoted by the Italian government, which was responsible for its preservation until 1973. After that year, its property passed to the Autonomous Province of Bolzano, which still owns it and created inside its rooms the South Tyrolean Museum of History.
Close to the castle, you will also find the Birds of Prey Center, a cafeteria and a shop. When the castle is open, many exhibitions and music events/concerts are organized.
Opening times: non-stop from 10 am to 5 pm. From 1st to 31st August open until 6 pm. Closed on Monday.
Via del Castello 24 - 39019 Merano
Tel +39 0473 220221