My little jubilee, the 50th country visited was Liechtenstein. And boy what a ceremony happened. The Principality of Liechtenstein and the Swiss Confederation were celebrating the 100 years of their common Dounae contract.

We were about to cross the bridge that was built over the river Rhine, but we were stopped as the celebration was just about to start. We joined the march of the locals in their traditional Alps clothes, the jodlers and the orchestra.

There were the politicians and representative of the both sides. So we met the Hereditary Prince Regent Alois von Liechtenstein and his wife Sophie, Hereditary Princess of Liechtenstein born Duchess Sophie in Bavaria. I have met some royals in my life but these two actually acknowledged me as I was passing by their table and nodded. I was amased. 🙂

Liechtenstein  is a German-speaking and doubly landlocked microstate located in the Alps between Austria and Switzerland. It is the sixth smallest nation worldwide with an area of just over 160 square kilometres and a population of 38,749 = so as you can notice, it is not that hard not to meet the royal family of Liechtenstein.

From all that ceremony, I got thirsty. There were local beer and other products served. It was a total treat of the day. 🙂

The Principality of Liechtenstein is a producer of wine. The country has a climate ideally suited for the cultivation of wine with mountain slopes facing southwest, calcareous soils and an average of 1,500 hours of sunshine a year.

Because of this curiosity, I had to visit the Cellars of the Prince of Liechtenstein. The presentation was bad. The wines were not so good either. Compare to the Swiss wines 0 they were really bad.

Today, the most popular white wines they have are Chardonnay, Riesling with Sylvaner, and Gewürztraminer, while red wines most produced are Blauburgunder, Zweigelt, and Blaufränkisch. The grape, Blauburgunder or Pinot noir are actually brought from the northern part of Austria where the royals of Liechtenstein have additional vineyards, close to Bohemia.

The Liechtenstein’s capital is Vaduz. A super boring city with not much original architecture to admire. But yes, it was once known as a billionaire tax haven, but is no longer on any official blacklists of uncooperative tax haven countries. An Alpine country, Liechtenstein is mountainous, making it a winter sport destination.

Vaduz Cathedral, or Cathedral of St. Florin is a neo-Gothic church. It was built in 19th century on a site of the remains of a medieval church. Its patron saint is Florinus of Remüs (Florin), a 9th-century saint of the Vinschgau Valley.

The royals of Liechtenstein are buried in it, on the right of the aisle.

At the nearby hilltop, is the palace and official residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein – Vaduz Castle. The castle overlooks from an adjacent hilltop down to Vaduz. Unfortunately, you can not visit it. And it was under construction during my visit. So, a bit of disappointment here was left.

The former owners, who were presumably also the builders, were the counts of Werdenberg-Sargans who built the castle in 12th century. The Princely Family of Liechtenstein acquired Vaduz Castle in 1712 when it purchased the countship of Vaduz. At this time, Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, purchased by the Liechtensteins in 1699, to form the present Principality of Liechtenstein.

And here we are today, with the Parliament and the Council of Liechtenstein – a bit awkward buildings that hold the direct democracy.

Time for another break. Another typical beer from Liechtenstein. It was a hot day that day – I wasn’t expecting this in April. Especially not in the mountains. But the bier came as a good refreshment with the view on the snowy Alpine peaks.

When I say Vaduz’ architecture is boring, I mean this photo below. The main square of Liechtenstein, in the heart of the center of Duvaz, is a rectangular square, not big, connecting the Duke’s House, the National Assembly, the Postal Museum, and a place to raise the flag. With some super internationals bars and restaurants that serve international food. I mean, I didn’t come to the Alps to eat thai food. -.-

After the afternoon tea, kidding, the bear 😛 we went to visit the principalities regalia: The ducal hat of Liechtenstein. On the display was as well the rock brought from the Moon – the gift of USA to Liechtenstein.

Finally, the National Museum of Liechtenstein. There wasn’t many items on the display and the entire museum can be seen in less than an hour. The history of the country is not explained at all.

It starts with Neolithic era of the country with the earliest settlements. One of the most important tribal groups in the Alpine region were the Helvetii. Does the name ring the bell? Perhaps this would remind. 🙂

Liechtenstein is situated in the Upper Rhine valley of the European Alps.

In the absence of political or military power, Liechtenstein has sought to preserve its sovereignty over the past 200 years through membership in legal communities, but mostly being bidded to Switzerland per see. The river Rhein separates the two countries but the bridges were always connecting them back. The witness is this Old Rhine Bridge – the oldest surviving wooden bridge over Rhine.

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