Himmelreich Rhaetian settlement in Volders

Powerful place in the Hall-Wattens region

Archaeological site with a stunning view

The Himmelreich Rhaetian settlement was one of the first settlements in the Inn valley. It is situated on a hilltop between Wattens and Volders, which underlines the important strategic position along one of the major routes in Tyrol. The settlement has been turned into an open-air museum and is part of the Historic Circular Walk.

Himmelreich open-air museum

On the settlement area, which is enclosed by a ring wall, foundations of 8 buildings can be viewed. They presumably represent a manor of a Rhaetian nobleman.

The terraced settlement Himmelreich Wattens was inhabited from the 2nd century BC to the 4th century AD and was destroyed by fire.

Wattens Museum

Museum Wattens (c)Lukas Schmied

A large part of the archeological findings such as ceramics, tools and weapons are exhibited in the Wattens Museum.


The Fritzens-Sanzeno culture is attested in the late Iron Age, from the sixth to the first century BC, in the Alpine region of Trentino and Tyrol. It take its name from the two towns of Fritzens in Tyrol and Sanzeno in Trentino, where important archaeological excavations were carried out at the beginning of the 20th century.

Historic circular trail

Walking along the historic circular trail between Volders and Wattens, you will discover many places of interest such as the castle of Aschach and Friedberg, our powerful place - the open-air archaeological museum, a war cemetery and two churches.

1. St Charles Church / Karlskirche
The impressive building was constructed between 1620-1654 according to the plans of the Italian doctor and polymath Hippolitus Guarinoni. In the years 1766/67 the interior of the church was redesigned. Both the ceiling frescos and the altarpiece are works of the famous Tyrolean painter Martin Knoller. In the years 1977-88 the St Charles Church was renovated at a cost of approx. 2.5 million Euros and today it is one of the most beautiful sacral buildings in Tyrol. In addition to public institutions, numerous private donors from the entire German-speaking world contributed to the renovation.

2. Servite Monastery
A viaduct arch connects the Servite monastery with the Karlskirche. Hippolitus Guarinoni also laid the foundation stone for the monastery in 1631. Due to lack of money, however, the construction was not continued until 1692 and provisionally completed two years later. Afterwards it was given to the Servite Order. The monastery was used as a military hospital for a short time during the battles of the Napoleonic Wars. Today the building houses a private upper secondary school.

3. Playground Bruggenwaldele
In this small cemetery with the Lourdes Chapel, which was inaugurated in 1892, there is a memorial plaque for the fallen soldiers of both world wars. According to contemporary records, the freedom fighters wounded in the Coalition Wars, who died of their injuries in the military hospital of the Servite Monastery, are buried in this cemetery. The small memorial chapel in the south-east corner was built by relatives of a soldier who died in World War I.

4. Lexen chapel / Lexenkapelle
The chapel belongs to the "Lexen" farm. Its steep shingle roof was built in the 1st half of the 18th century. The crucifix, the statue of St. John and of St. Anne inside the chapel are early baroque works. The Way of the Cross is a peasant work. Since a turret is missing, the bell was placed in the gable of the chapel. Even today Holy Masses are celebrated on special occasions.

5. Friedberg
The Friedberg Castle, originally in possession of the Andechs family, was first mentioned in documents in the 12th century. From 1491 onwards, the Fieger family owned the castle complex and gave it the late Gothic character that still predominates today. The Fieger family died out in 1802. Afterwards, the owners changed frequently, until in the middle of the 19th century Friedberg passed to the Counts of Trapp. Among them, the residence was given its present appearance. The castle can be booked for events today. Weddings at Friedberg Castle are very popular.

6. John’s Chapel / Johanneskapelle
In 1984 a lot of work and many volunteer hours were invested by the fire department Volders to build the John’s chapel. Inside the chapel a wooden statue of St. John Nepomuk can be seen.

7. Aschach Castle
The castle is situated above the village of Volders and was first mentioned in a document in 1334. It was burned down after a siege in 1413 and was renovated and expanded in 1575 according to plans by Ernst von Rauchenberg, the builder of Ambras Castle in Innsbruck. The Aschach Castle is privately owned and cannot be visited.

8. Volders Parish Church
The gothic-style parish church is dedicated to John the Baptist and was completed in 1510. Between 1962 and 1965 it was modernized and extended by the Tyrolean architect Clemens Holzmeister. The altarpiece was made by the Tyrolean painter Josef Schöpf and the crucifix is the work of the Tyrolean sculpture Franz Serafikus Nißl. Historical gravestones are attached to the south side of the old cemetery wall. During interior restoration work in 2009, the foundations of two predecessor churches were uncovered in the presbytery. On the south side of the tower, secco paintings were found, which may have been created partly in the early Gothic (around 1350), partly in the Romanesque period (around 1280).

9. Urn graves from the Urnfield period
At the crossroads, a memorial plaque commemorates the urn grave cemetery with 431 graves from 1100 to 800 BC discovered in 1956. The remains can be seen in the Wattens museum.

Hiking around Himmelreich





Ascent378 mDistance6,1 kmHighest point892 mDuration2:00 h