Welcome to the early 13th century where Genghis Khan has just conquered China, King John has signed Magna Carta and mainland Europe is preparing for yet another pointless Crusade.

 

In Habsburg Tirol the situation is relatively calm. The locals are prospering and the gentry are building themselves fancy fortified residences in dramatic locations. Karneid Castle near Bozen is an early example.

The core of the building is probably built around 1200 CE by the Greifenstein family who are relatives of the Counts of Eppan. In the 150 years that follow several prominent local families own the fief and extend the building by adding a chapel, generous living quarters & extensive fortifications.

 

In 1386 a local landowner named Heinrich von Liechtenstein takes possession of Karneid. A few years later a civil war breaks out between the Habsburgs and the local nobility. The Liechtensteins side with the latter, Karneid is besieged and it's owners are taken prisoner. After some smooth talking plus the payment of a large ransom they are released and allowed to return.

 

In 1580 a fire destroys much of the castle. Extensive rebuilding work by Bartholomäus von Liechtenstein saves the house but nearly bankrupts the family and for the next 200 years Karneid remains largely untouched. After the death in 1761 of Count Anton the last Tirolean Liechtenstein, his heirs sell Karneid to the city of Bozen. Over the next hundred years the estate changes hands numerous times and falls into disrepair.

 

In 1884 Baron Ferdinand von Miller, a wealthy Munich artisan & entrepreneur buys and restores Karneid. Today it is owned by his descendants and is one of the last intact, privately owned medieval fortresses in South Tirol. The castle continues to play an important role in the life of the local community and since 2015 is also available in the summer months for private hire.