Vorarlberg's loveliest old town cowers at the feet of the menacing bulk of the Schattenburg.
The Schattenburg castle was built about 800 years ago. Up until the year 1390 the family seat of the earls of Montfort-Feldkirch, from 1390 to 1773 the castle was the stronghold of the Habsburgers' local bailiffs. The first building phase began in approximately 1190 on the instigation of Hugo I. von Montfort, the founder of the town. This period saw the building of the 21 metre battlements, the keep, the living quarters, as well as the moats, the drawbridge and the walls which linked them together. During the whole of the 13th and 14th centuries the castle was never captured, (although it was besieged in the years 1269 and 1345). In the course of the Appenzeller war the castle was destroyed, but its rebuilding was sanctioned by King Ruprecht two years later.
After the bailiffs moved out, the castle was offered for auction on several occasions - in the year 1813 plans were even made to demolish it. In 1825 the town of Feldkirch offered 833 guilders for the crumbling ruins. From then on the Schattenburg was used as a barracks and subsequently as a workhouse.