Switzerland's lovely Tarasp is one of the five villages that was merged into Scuol on January 1, 2015. Its gorgeous setting at the foot of the mountains and along the Inn River is nothing short of stunning, and a glorious 11th century castle stands tall and proud at some 328 feet above the town and serves as a major landmark for the entire Lower Engadin. Tarasp Castle welcomes some 15,000 visitors each year, and it should definitely be on your must-see list during your stay in Scuol.
A Bit of History
While no clear documentation has been discovered, historians date Tarasp Castle back to the 11th century, and it got its name in 1089 when the nobleman Ulrich von Tarasp was granted possession of it by order of a papal mandate. The Tarasp family also founded the Scuol Monastery in their efforts to create a great barony in the area. Things apparently didn't work out because the Tarasp family donated the castle to the Bishop of Chur in 1160, and that seemed to complicate matters further. Battles were fought for control of the castle, and everything changed again in 1239 when Swiker von Reichenberg dismissed the bishop's claim of ownership and sold the castle to Albert of Tyrol.
More battles transpired over the castle until it was sold again in 1464 to Sigmund of Austria, and this caused a huge uprising of the local population. In both 1548 and 1578, the locals attacked the castle but failed to capture it until 1612 when they managed to burn it. Repairs and additions were made throughout the years, and the castle remained the only Austrian territory in all of Switzerland during the 18th century. At last, in 1803, the ownership of the castle was transferred to the Swiss Canton of Graubunden. Unfortunately, it was abandoned and left to fall into ruin after 1815.
A private buyer purchased the castle in 1856 and began to refurbish it with a new roof, but the work proved to be too much. It was sold again to Dr. Karl Lingner in 1900, and he completely restored the castle between the years of 1906 and 1916. This included the installation of an immense concert organ, the planting of a 1,000 trees around the castle and the building of a complex walking path. He also installed Flemish tapestries, 16th century stained glass windows and an abundance of hand-carved Renaissance wood paneling. Unfortunately, he died on June 5, 1916, before he was able to move into the restored castle. It passed along to other private owners throughout the years until it ultimately sold to the renowned Swiss artist Not Vital in 2016 for the sum of $7.9 million.
A Visit to Tarasp Castle
For the protection of the castle, it may only be explored through a guided tour, which is available throughout the year. Other tours include a guided tour with a 30-minute organ concert and the popular moonlight tour that takes you through the castle at night. The moonlight tour is very popular with couples, and the locals say the castle is haunted by Dr. Lingner whose spirit stays to enjoy the organ music that he never had the chance to hear before his untimely death. It's important to note that there is a 15-minute walk from the Sparsels car park to the castle's main gate, so you'll want to dress appropriately for the weather conditions. These are just a few of the highlights of the guided tour.
- Hall of knights
- Festival hall
- Sleeping chambers
- Residential wings
- Ring wall
- Paintings from the 12th century
- Five-story watch tower crowned with a Baroque onion dome
- Grand furnishings
- Impressive courtyard
- Two half towers
- Coat of arms paintings from the 15th century
- Large concert organ
- Exceptional views of the surrounding mountains and Scuol
- Art exhibition created by the current owner, Swiss artist Not Vital
About the Organ
The large concert organ, built by Jehmlich of Dresden and installed by Dr. Lingner, is still used today in concerts held throughout the summer months. It's also played for visitors to the castle, and the music seems to come out of nowhere since its speakers are cleverly hidden behind the wood paneling and in various cupboards.
A Venue for Your Special Event
Private events may be held at Tarasp Castle, and the red ballroom is just right for an elegant banquet. The grand courtyard also offers a picturesque setting for special events, and weddings, corporate events, family gatherings and club festivities have all been hosted at the castle. Those lodging with us here at Exceptional Stays may count on our dedicated concierge team to reserve the castle for any special event. Just let us know when you lock in your preferred dates, and we'll have everything in place before your arrival.