Castle Viamala

Ortenstein Castle

Schloss Ortenstein Sommer
Schloss Ortenstein Sommer

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Schloss Ortenstein Winter
The largest castle complex in the valley of castles and palaces: the stately Ortenstein Castle below Tomils towers majestically over the Domleschg.


Ortenstein Castle rises around one hundred and twenty metres above the Domleschg valley floor on the right bank of the Rhine on a steeply sloping rocky outcrop, known as "ort" in Middle High German. The development of the castle began in the early 15th century with the construction of the striking keep.

The castle was most probably built by the Lords of Vaz. It was initially regarded as a bishop's fief, but soon became the property of the powerful family, who appeared in the early 14th century in possession of the "Ortenstain" castle, first mentioned in a document in 1309.

Destroyed - except for the tower
As Donat von Vaz, who had resided at Ortenstein and whose additions to the tower set the direction for later structural development, was the last of his tribe to die in 1337, Ortenstein passed to his daughter Rudolf von Werdenberg-Sargans in 1338. In 1450, during the "Schams War", Werdenberg Ortenstein was destroyed apart from the tower. An arbitration award in 1452 authorised its reconstruction, and the east wing with the cellars carved into the rock was built.

In the centuries that followed, the castle changed hands several times. In 1875, Ortenstein Castle passed to Dr Johann Friedrich von Tscharner. Since 1955, he has maintained and enriched the castle with much love and artistic flair. The external form in which Ortenstein presents itself to the traveller today was essentially created in the first half of the 18th century by the traverse. They rebuilt the west wing and the two corner buildings of the east wing, added an onion dome to the clock tower and thus gave the castle the compact shape that makes it appear to have grown organically out of the mighty rock.

Ortenstein Castle is the largest castle complex in the valley of castles and palaces.

Ortenstein Castle is privately owned and is not open to the public. The complex is visible from the Domleschg Castle Trail.


Responsible for this content: Viamala Tourism.

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