Schloss Bruck with its castellated walls and stunning castle keep sits elevated on the crest of a hill in the middle of a well-tended mixed woodland area. The castle was built between 1252 and 1277 as a residence for the Counts of Gorizia and is named after a bridge that runs beneath the Schlossberg across the River Isel.
From the castle keep practically all of Lienz valley basin is visible – in the turbulent times of the medieval period a site that was fit for battle was a fundamental necessity. Schloss Bruck is surrounded by a 1.5 metre sturdy enclosing wall and fulfils all the functions of a stately castle – to protect, defend, represent. The only entrance is via a front building, protected by a machicolation and defensive corridor. The former Grafenburg is an enclosed facility today with an inner courtyard and impressive architectural elements spanning eight centuries.
In the course of the years Schloss Bruck frequently changed ownership and was not just the place where the Counts of Gorizia lived, but was later a brewery, inn, freight forwarding site, armoury, military hospital and barracks.
In 1942 the city of Lienz purchased the property from private ownership and opened East Tyrol’s museum of local history. Extensive renovations in 1999 / 2000 using the plans of architect Gerhard Mitterberger not only brought the building up-to-date in terms of technical exhibition facilities, it also created a fascinating symbiosis of old and new building components.
Schloss Bruck’s own collection falls into four main categories. On the one hand there is the art collection which includes paintings, graphic and sculptural work spanning five centuries – from the Gothic winged altar to pictures and sculptures by local contemporary artists.
The collection emphasis in archaeological items is on ancient and early historic finds in East Tyrol and original objects from excavations from the 20th century from Tyrol’s only Roman city, Aguntum. This collection complex was given to Museum Aguntum in 20111 and the rooms in the archaeology section were re-developed to be exhibition areas for contemporary art. As a third element in the museum’s collections there are a variety of objects which reveal the ethnology of East Tyrol (e.g. weaving looms, chests, traditional costumes etc.), and “folk art” too (e.g. votive images, wedding jewellery etc.) and arts and crafts. Last but not least the collection also comprises a natural history section which features stuffed animals, rare minerals and the like.
Objects from the Schloss Brucker collections can also be seen in special exhibitions that change on a regular basis. There are also items on loan from across Europe. At the moment all the collection items are being digitally compiled and cross-linked.
The exhibits span an overall area of some 2000 m2, tying in for the most part with Schloss Bruck’s own collection, providing an educational aspect. Larger themed exhibits are also supplemented with items on loan. The content emphasis is frequently on art and culture. Nonetheless ‘external’ elements are considered too.
In the past few years the work of Egger-Lienz has been highlighted from different sides in large exhibits, and contrasted with other artists, mostly contemporaries. This scholarly review has made it possible to provide an interesting, first-class permanent exhibition of the paintings of this city’s great son.
As well as the Egger-Lienz exhibition Museum Schloss Bruck – in so far as Egger-Lienz is not a part of large special exhibits too – there are also smaller special exhibitions which change every year, an exhibition about the large bat population around the castle that is suitable for children, a park and the castle pond, providing present-day artists with a stage in the recently adapted west wing along with the castle keep and ‘Tyrol Archive Photography’ which looks at the recent past in this Dolomite town.
All in all the “transformation” of the medieval Grafenburg into a contemporary, dynamic museum that is continually developing and will also continue on that path, has been successful – and the on average 30,000 visitors each season is evidence of that fact.
Museum der Stadt Lienz, Schloss Bruck
- 05.07. – 26.10.2020: Wednesday till Sunday from 10:00 to 16:00
€ 8,50 per adult
€ 2,50 per child & youth
Upon presentation of the National Park Kärnten Card you will get a 23,5 % discount on the entry.