Both, the idyllic Romedikirchl and the nearby ruins of the Thaur Castle are situated above the village of Thaur and can be visited throughout the year. Numerous hiking trails which are located in the Karwendel Nature Park lead to both attractions.
You can start at the parish church of Thaur (Kirchgasse 3-1) and walk the steep Way of the Cross to this history-charged place. If you prefer a short walk (approx. 10-15 minutes) then use the parking ‘Thaurer Alm’ in the Langgasse or the parking ‘Romediwirt’ in the Stollenstraße in Thaur. In any case, hikers are rewarded with a stunning view over the central Inn valley.
Powerful place ruined castle of Thaur & Romedikirchl
at a glance
The little church on this idyllic spot in Thaur is consecrated to the apostles Saint Peter and Saint Paul and certainly to Saint Romedius. Its predecessor building was first mentioned in a document in 1367. The medieval church became ruinous towards the beginning of the 17th century. Due to the support of the regional ruler Archduchess Claudia de Medici and other important benefactors such as the Italian physician Hippolytus Guarinonius, a new church was built in 1640.
In 1778/79 the old church was replaced by the present sacral building, according to the plans of the court architect Michael Umhauser. The light-flooded interior impresses with a unique rococo decoration. The wall and ceiling paintings are the works of the Tyrolean artists Franz and Josef Giner.
Other items of interest include two Rococo side altars and the High Altar which contains a reliquary and a high baroque sculpture showing St. Romedius sitting on the bear, carved by the Tyrolean sculptor Franz Stöckl in 1713. The last and most comprehensive restoration works were carried out in 1993/94.
Source: Thaurer Dorfbuch, Reinhard Rampold
The Romedikirchl plays a very special role at Easter. During the Palm Sunday processions, the figure of Christ, sitting on a wooden donkey, is carried from the parish church in Thaur up to the Romedikirchl, where a litany is held. Afterwards, the procession moves through the fields of Thaur towards the village of Rum.
By the way, two famous crips can be admired in the church: first, the Lenten crib, which was renovated in 2005, is set up from Ash Wednesday to White Sunday and second, the Christmas crib at Christmas time. Some of these figures date from the Baroque period and wear wax heads. It should be noted here that the tradition of crib making plays a very important role in Thaur.
The Way of the Cross
The footpath to the church is accompanied by seven chapels decorated with ceramic reliefs depicting the Passion of Christ. The reliefs are the work of the Tyrolean sculptor Romed Speckbacher junior.
The castle was erected at the end of the 12th century by the Counts of Andechs. Both the castle and the nearby saline were first documented in 1232 with Count Albert III of Tyrol as their owner. When Count Albert III died, the castle passed to his son-in-law, Count Gebhard von Hirschberg. At the end of the 13th century the property passed to Count Meinhard II von Görz. The property situation in the early period of construction was not always clear, however, the castle always remained in the possession of the Tyrolean sovereign until its decay.
At the end of the 15th century the castle was modernised by Archduke Sigmund the Rich and his successor Emperor Maximilian I. Both used the castle as hunting lodge and spent a fortune for its expansion and modernisation.
Nevertheless, in the 16th century steady decay followed, caused by a fire during a peasants’ revolt and by the collapse of the castle bridge, a tower, the kitchen vault and the curtain wall. Unfortunately, in the 17th century the castle became a dilapidated building so that even the caretakers moved away. The prison of Thaur, however, remained in use until 1684. Due to a series of earthquakes in 1670, the castle became a ruin and remained so ever since.
During the 17th century the overlords changed, until in 1744 the Sternbach family received the castle as a fief and owned it later in 1877. In 1967 the property was bought by the Liphart family. Today's owner is Dr. Christoph Liphart.
The castle complex at the Thaur castle hill
The castle complex is located at 820 meters above sea level on a small hill above the village of Thaur. Unfortunately, the castle has fallen into ruin over the centuries. With an area of around 3,000 m², Thaur Castle was one of the most extensive complexes in this region and was considered the largest and strongest fortification with its own court in the Inn Valley.
The current use of the castle
In the 20th century the present wall remains were secured, renovated and restored. Nowadays the remains of the once mighty castle are an exciting adventure playground and a fantastic backdrop for the Thaurer castle games, which were founded in 2001.
Visitors can download the app Burg Thaur and explore the history of the castle and its inhabitants at their own pace.
Directly next to the Romedikirchl, the famous landmark in Thaur, you will find the trendy and traditional country inn Romediwirt. It was newly opened in 2018. The modern and minimalist architecture fits harmoniously into the landscape with the little church close by.
The Romediwirt is an ideal spot for celebrations of any kind. In addition, various highlights such as a brunch buffet on Saturdays or barbecues in summer are offered.
This special exhibition on the upper floor of the Romediwirt is dedicated to the history of the village of Thaur and our feathered friends - the owls in the Karwendel. The project was realised in cooperation with Chronos, the local history association in Thaur, the Karwendel Nature Park and the Municipality of Thaur in 2018.
Settlement history, archaeological excavations and nature are the topics of the exhibition. In showcases in the exhibition room jewellery, glass objects and tools can be admired. Furthermore, four species of owls, which can be observed in this area, are displayed as stuffed animals, together with their eggs and pellets. In addition, a short film will inform you about the first settlement and the following history.
Opening hours and contact
Romediwirt, 1st floor
Schlossgasse 17, Thaur
Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am till 6 pm
Guided tours on request:
+43 650 3161570, firstname.lastname@example.org
No direct access possible! Please use the car park ‘Thaurer Alm’ (Langgasse) or ‘Romediwirt’ (Stollenstraße).
According to prehistoric finds from the Bronze Age, Thaur was already inhabited around 1,000 BC, especially in the area around the Thaur castle. The place was mentioned for the first time in 827. During the early middle ages Thaur was famous for its salt production. The salt works were located in Thaur until 1270, before they were moved to Hall in Tirol.
The three silver towers depicted in the coat of arms indicate that Thaur Castle was located here, of which only ruins remained. Today, Thaur is not only known as Tyrol’s largest vegetable garden, the village is also famous for the its crib tradition and the carnival procession (Muller and Matschgerer parade).
The name Romedius is omnipresent in the village of Thaur. St. Romedius is not only the patron of pilgrims and walkers but also the patron saint of Thaur. Therefore it is not surprising that the anniversary of St. Romedius is celebrated here with great dignity on the 15th of January.
According to legend, Romedius lived between the fourth and the fifth century. He descends from a noble and wealthy family of the Counts of Thaur. As a young man he gave up his prosperous life to meditate in some grottoes near the Nonsberg sanctuary. This was the place were he spent his life as a hermit and where he is buried.
There are quite a few legends about the hermit Romedius, but the most famous is the one with the bear: It is said that Romedius on his way to visit the bishop of Trento, St. Vigilius, rode a bear that he had miraculously tamed. That is why St. Romedius is usually depicted with the pilgrim's staff, the pilgrim's shell and often with a bear.
This famous long distance hiking trail starts at the Romedikirchl in Thaur and leads to the sanctuary of San Romedio in the Italian Nonstal. The exciting route is 180 kilometres long with almost 10,000 meters of altitude difference. During 12 daily stages the pilgrims can explore the unique landscape by passing Tyrol, South Tyrol and Trentino. More detailed information about the pilgrimage route can be found here.