"A new, bright sound" at Heinfels Castle

After more than 200 years, a bell rings again at Heinfels Castle. Bishop Hermann Glettler consecrated the new guardian angel bell on May 9.

An imperial weather for the "Queen of the Puster Valley" and almost early summer temperatures formed a more than worthy setting for the festive mass at the castle. Due to the general restrictions, the seats for the fellow celebrants were limited and therefore quickly filled. Dean Anno Schulte-Herbrüggen welcomed Bishop Hermann Glettler on behalf of the parish community.

Josef Steinringer Josef Steinringer donated the bell for the castle


The chairman of the museum association, Josef Steinringer, donated the new bell "out of joy over the successful progress of construction, and the visible and tangible results, as well as out of gratitude that the many heavy works, without major accident could be carried out". In his welcoming speech, Steinringer once again thanked individuals, institutions and also mentioned the willingness of many benefactors to support the elaborate restoration project Heinfels Castle.

The act of consecration by Bishop Hermann Glettler culminated with the striking of the new bell. At the same time, all the bells of the parish churches of Sillian and Tessenberg, the Heinfels churches of St. Peter and Paul and St. Anthony "welcomed" the new bell in a festive peal.

Local poet Hilda Außerlechner from Kartitsch honored the blessing of the new bells in her poem: "Be a messenger of faith, announce joy, call for peace, reconciliation in the world, send our request to the Holy Guardian Angel: "Heinfels Castle is placed under his protection!"



Hilda Außerlechner und Elisabeth Steinringer Hilda Außerlechner and Elisabeth Steinringer


"This small bell brings a new, bright sound to the common ringing of the surrounding bells, a message of resurrection. If we ourselves are willing to let ourselves be tuned like this instrument, so that it matches others, then the common sound will be strengthened," said Bishop Hermann Glettler in his homily.

Following the Mass, which was festively framed by the brass section of the Heinfels music band, Peter Leiter thanked Josef Steinringer on behalf of the museum association with a picture of a guardian angel, which was uncovered during restoration work in the castle's Laurentius Chapel.

Coordinated with the bells of the churches of St. Anthony and St. Peter and Paul in Heinfels, the new little bell will ring in the future at the Angelus prayer on Sundays, on the patron saint's day - St. Laurence's Day on August 10 - and on Guardian Angel Sunday from the roof of the chapel.


The consecration of the bells at Heinfels Castle (livestream), 9. 5. 2021 (Parish of Sillian)

Photos: Martin Bürgler

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Only rarely does the castle experience such winters; for weeks the complex lay under a thick layer of snow of over 150 cm. The access roads were barely kept clear and only with difficulty could the most important parts of the castle be reached.

On 15 July 2020 we opened Heinfels Castle. In this short and very challenging season, we were nevertheless able to welcome 5508 visitors in 659 guided tours until October 26 due to the worldwide pandemic with many travel restrictions!

On Wednesday, July 15, we started the first summer season with the museum, shop and castle tavern. The preparations for this were already in full swing for some time.

The current situation also has Heinfels Castle firmly under control. Construction work has resumed after the obligatory break and we are continuing to work flat out to complete the museum.

Three years ago the elaborate work on the largest profane restoration project in Tyrol began. All the roofs of the castle, with the exception of the tower from 1992, have now been newly roofed and the access paths inside the complex have already been paved. The opening of the museum is planned for early summer 2020

From May 2018 to the end of October 2019, more than 2800 visitors gained insights into one of the most exciting construction sites in the region.

It was a special day for the "Queen of the Puster Valley": On the 12th of July the guardian angel bell was cast in the bell foundry Grassmayr in Innsbruck. This is a continuation of the old tradition of bells in the castle.

During the restoration work, a special red chalk drawing from the early 16th century was uncovered. But this is not the only discovery!

Heinfels Castle’s main redevelopment should be complete and open once again to the general public within five years. An ambitious goal if you were to take a peek inside the imposing castle, as the last centuries haven’t been kind to the halls and chambers, leaving them to dilapidate.

On 16 November 2015, the concept regarding the future use of Heinfels Castle was presented to the district councils of the Tyrolean Oberland. If everything goes according o plan, the main redevelopment can take place during summer 2016.

The Südtiroler Burgeninstitut (the South Tyrolean Castle Institute) invited Management of the Museumsverein and the Steering Group to visit a number of castles in and around South Tyrol on 14 July 2015.

On 2 June 2015, the members of the ‘New Uses’ and ‘Redevelopment and Maintenance’ groups were met by gorgeous weather as they set out to visit the border fortress of Altfinstermünz in Nauders at the foot of the Finstermünzpass.