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Castle Tirolo

As Europe emerged from the Dark Ages the western part of what is now South Tyrol was ruled by the Lords of Vinschgau who began to call themselves Counts of Tirol after their castle on the mountainside overlooking present-day Meran. The Tirol dynasty increased their sway to include the territory to the north of the Continental Divide and eventually the entire region from Lake Garda to southern Bavaria bore the name of the castle. Until 1420 Tyrol was ruled from there (the administrative centre was then moved to Innsbruck. The castle remains a gem of Romanesque and medieval architecture. Its palace and chapel portals rank among the most sublime works of Romanesque-style stonemasonry, while the keep houses an exhibition over 20 levels elucidating Tyrol’s history, focusing especially on South Tyrol’s struggle for autonomous status in the 20th century.

There is also a sanctuary for sick and injured birds on the castle mound where they are nursed back to health and released, or cared for if they are no longer able to fend for themselves. A nature trail acquaints visitors with the life of birds of prey which perform acrobatics twice daily during the summer months.
 
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