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Castles and fortresses

History is present - and you can see it near and far around Terlan. Ruins of castles and fortresses of times long gone by can be seen on hills and slopes. Often they have been lovingly restored and are lasting witnesses to the rich history of the area.
At the southern entrance to the village of Terlan towers the ruin of Castle Neuhaus, known in the local vernacular as Maultasch. It is an important site of Tyrolean history. There are few other castles with such an imposing presence in the scenery of the Etsch Valley.
Above the village of Siebeneich, at dizzying heights, the ruins of Castle Greifenstein, known as Sauschloss can be seen from afar.

Brief historic overview
The area surrounding Terlan boasts a very favourable microclimate. It is therefore no wonder, that evidence of human settlement in the area dates back extraordinarily far. The oldest traces stem from the neolithic period (around 2000 BC). On the Greifenstein motte e.g. remnants of clay vessels from prehistoric times where found in the year 1966. At the Patauner farm in the village of Siebeneich a celtic tombstone was found in 1961. The name TERLAN is first documented in 828 as "Taurane" and in 923 as "Torilan". In time it evolved into the name as it is today. In medieval times Terlan was the seat of the Court of Neuhaus. Its jurisdiction included today’s villages of Terlan, Andrian, Nals and Vilpian. The last female Tyrolean sovereign, Princess Margarethe of Görz-Tirol, known as Margarethe Maultasch, frequently resided in Castle Neuhaus above Terlan. For this reason the ruins of the castle are nowadays better known by their vernacular name Maultasch Ruins rather than by their actual name Neuhaus. In the 16th century mining had its heyday in Terlan. It was mostly potter's ore that was mined for and later turned into silver. However, the yield became sparse and therefore mining came to an end in the region. In the 20th century, around 1907, the mines in Terlan and Nals were reopened once more. In Terlan-Kreith the mines were worked in with some interruptions up to the 1950s. The silver mine brought wealth to the citizens of Terlan. This is mostly expressed in the magnificent building of the parish church with its precious gothic frescos. The name of one of Terlan's favourite red wines the "Silberleiten" also alludes to its illustrious past.

Neuhaus Ruins

At the beginning of the 13th Century, a double-castle was built.  It consisted of a type of road block on the road below, as well as the actual castle up on the rock.  It is documented, that the castle already existed in 1206 and was called Nova Domus, the new house.  Originally, the castle high above the road block was very small.  In 1275/1276, it was destroyed during the war between the Count of Tyeol and the Bishop of Trient and only rebuilt in 1320 in its present form.  The mighty keep comes also from this time.  Several suggestions indicate that Margarethe Maultasch, the Duchess of Carinthia and Tyrol, spent some time in this castle and enjoyed an extravagant lifestyle.  Folk tale has it that she used only golden balls and cones for bowling.  The name Maultasch is said to derive from her misshapen mouth or her loose tongue.  Scientifically founded, however, is more the idea that Margarethe's nickname derived from the road block, which – with Roman figures – would translate into malatasca – mouse trap.  After the lower castle with its road block was destroyed, the name was given to the upper castle and from there to the duchess.  In 1382, the Lords of Niederthor/Bozen bought the castle.  They returned it to its proper state and erected several outbuildings.  Their dynasty also was responsible for the administration of the Neuhaus court.  When the Lords of Niederthor moved to Meran and into the newly bought Castle Gragsburg in 1479, only a tenant lived in Castle Neuhaus.  Around 1825, Neuhaus received a new roofing.  Lateron, it is said that the roof tiles were removed for tax reasons and, therefore, the castle delapidated.  When you visit Castle Neuhaus today, you can only see the remains of the walls.
You can reach the ruins on a path. Walking time: 30 minutes.

Greifenstein Ruins

Greifenstein castle is enthroned high above the village of Settequerce/Siebeneich.  It was first mentioned in 1159.  During the war between the Counts of Tyrol and the Bishop of Trient, in 1275 / 1276, the castle was destroyed.  Only in 1334, the small aristocrats, the Lords of Greifenstein decided to re-built it again.  On a few years later, in 1348, it was burnt down.  In latter years (once more re-built in 1363), Greifenstein went into the hands of the Lords of Starkenberg.  In 1420, when a part of the Tyrolean aristocracy went into war against the sovereign Duke Frederick of Austria, the sovereign had the castle besieged and starved out.  Amongst the duke's enemies was also the minnesinger Oswald von Wolkenstein.  He wrote a poetic song about the duke's besieger and made fun of them.  The duke's army could not take Castle Greifenstein, but the fight of the aristocracy and the castle's owner, Wilhelm von Starkenberg, became meaningless and, therefore, the Lord of Starkenberg escaped probably through a crevice at the south-western part of the castle.  His 18 servants gave up their resistance once they were promised free withdrawal.  Today, Castle Greifenstein is merely a ruin.  In common language, it is also called the Sauschloss.  This name derived from a legend, which speaks about the time of the siege.  During this time, the people inside the castle had to face fact that they were left with no food.  There was only one well fattened big in the castle's cellar.  Suddenly, one of the servants had an idea: instead of slaughtering the animal, they threw it with much laughter over the castle walls and down the rock just in front of the besiegers.  When those realised what just had happened, they lost all courage as they believed that the castle's inhabitants still had lots of food available.  Therefore, they withdrew ..... and Greifenstein was saved.

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