After visiting Innsbruck, Austria, we headed due west, to the Principality of Liechtenstein.
The Lechtaler Alps were to our north along the way. We had to pass through a border checkpoint before we could enter Liechtenstein. This is one of the very few border checkpoints that we encountered during our entire trip through eight European countries.
Liechtenstein with an area of 160 sq. km. is the sixth-smallest independent nation in the world. It's surrounded by Austria and Switzerland. In case anyone asks, Liechtenstein is a constitutional, hereditary monarchy on a democratic and parliamentary basis.
We stopped and had lunch in the capital city of Vaduz. The restaurant was located on the main plaza.
Towering above us was the Vaduz Castle, which is the palace and official residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein.
The oldest part of the castle dates to the twelfth century, with major expansions added during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.The castle has been the permanent residence of the princely family since 1938 and is not accessible to the public.
Its chapel, the chapel of St Anne was built in the Middle Ages. The main alter is late Gothic. It's not accessible to the public either.
During the medieval days, the price could have sought refuge in the castle in case there was a peasant uprising. Throughout the years, there have been fewer and fewer soldiers utilized to guard the palace. Currently, there are only a couple of guards that are stationed at the front gate.
There has never been an assassination attempt on any member of the family since World War II.
The castle underwent restoration between 1905 and 1920. The castle was expanded in the 1930's.
It was being worked on when we were there also, as you can see the crane sitting behind the castle.
Vaduz is the capital of Liechtenstein. It's located along the Rhine and has around 5000 inhabitants. It is one of the very few capital cities in the world that doesn't have an airport or railway station. Vaduz does have a lively tourist industry.
The majority of the sights and facilities are located on two quite short main streets. Along one of these streets is the main plaza where a variety of sculptures, including these horses (Tre Cavalli) in front of the Rathaus, can be seen. Nag Arnoldi is the artist that sculpted the horses.
On the way back from his famous Journey, to Italy, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe spent some nights here in Vaduz.
A plaque marking the visit by the famous German polymath embellishes the wall of one of the plaza buildings.
On the main plaza was a replica of the Vaduz Castle which is shown in this picture.
Finally, nearby there was a Tourist Office that, for a nominal fee, would stamp your passport with the the Liechtenstein seal. It reads "Furstentem Liechtenstein" which simply is German for Principality of Liechtenstein.
The gentlemen sitting is another of the contemporary art works in Vaduz.
Another work of contemporary art in the center of Vaduz along Staedtle Street is this picture of a swimmer.