Raised hide

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The Kreith residence in Eppan (South Tyrol) lacks serious defense elements.

As Ansitz in southern Germany, Austria and South Tyrol-speaking world a smaller residence of the lower is nobility designated with special legal status, especially in Tyrol . Residences emerged at the end of the Middle Ages and in the early modern period up to the 19th century.

Origin and legal status of the residences

The legal special position of the residence compared to the sovereign is the essential characteristic of a residence, whereby the contemporary designation in the Tyrolean sources of the 15th century was "gesaesz, gesaess" . The privileges of a residence included first and foremost the exemption ( tax exemption ) from municipal burdens . As a rule, the liberty also earned those who received it for their residence a letter of nobility with a title of nobility , mostly linked to the name of their residence, and thus acceptance into the Tyrolean state parliament .

High medieval stately homes, even in the late Middle Ages, resulting to about 1500, were centers of manors and had usually the Low jurisdiction over the villages or farms of their tenants held during the subsequent act of the princely Freiung for newly created residences, such as the Tyrolean order of 1574, no judicial exemption from access by the local court resulted. The Tyrolean residences of the 16th and 17th centuries, unlike the old knight's residences, were therefore no longer directly in the country. During this time, private individuals were also no longer allowed to build new castles or fortifications, and the funds of up-and-coming families were generally insufficient for larger castle buildings . Wanted a wealthy that have become citizens so an ennobling reach, he had either an older noble lordship, usually a medieval ministry seat , purchase, and may also transmit the present there rights to a new building, or even re-establish a prestigious noble residence, in the form of a Ansitzes . The early mansions were therefore often built using high medieval residential towers , which were often ruins. The new construction of a Ansitzes put the acquisition of agricultural land in the form of a Urbars ahead and needed then a sovereign act. Often these mansions were built before the ennoblement and then gave the owners the opportunity to look for the latter. In a similar way, newly created court brands in Bavaria and Austria and in northern Germany knightly estates eligible for state assembly had to be approved by the sovereign and then enrolled with the knighthood .

As a rule, it was the rising of the bourgeoisie or peasant class who promoted the expansion and re-establishment of estates instead of older farms or town houses for this purpose. The reigning prince showed his appreciation to deserving genders from the rural communities with the ennoblement and liberties and recruited qualified officials from them for the reigning administration. This new elite of the postal aristocracy , inclined towards the sovereign , exercised great intellectual, cultural and economic influence and was closely related to one another. The residences of the late 16th and early 17th centuries are, on the one hand, an expression of a conception of the nobility that is still dominated by rural estates , because the entry in the Tyrolean aristocratic registers presupposes the possession of a manor or a residence, but at the same time the construct of "is free." Ansitzes "the legal monument of a certain democratization of old feudal structures . So these newly created aristocratic residences no longer had any heirs or backers ( servants and landlords ) like the old aristocratic estates .

The rise in aristocratic families, however, weakened the power of the older nobility and also of the Tyrolean state parliament , which had existed since 1417 and which played practically no role in the 18th century due to the increase in the number of noble families represented in it, and thus strengthened the authority of the sovereign princes residing in Innsbruck Princely County of Tyrol . The sovereign countered the reservations of the old nobility by raising his rank. In the following period of absolutism , the monarchs also made ennobling on the basis of merit or careers, regardless of land ownership.

Shape and shape

In contrast to high medieval aristocratic residences, i.e. castles , residential towers and fortress houses , but comparable to the manor of a manor , residences are either weak or only symbolically or not at all fortified . They were not built until a time when medieval fortifications had already lost their military purpose, but often instead of and using medieval residential towers, such as the Pallaus residence in Sarns. Residences were designed primarily for comfortable and representative living for their owners. But even as new buildings they often retained the formal idiom of the medieval predecessor buildings of the nobility: often there are towers, ornamental crenellations , decorative oriels , imitated machicolations , circular walls, corner cuboids or block paintings, with which the owners pointed out their special position. A special status feature is often the furnishing with wall paintings , especially from the mundane subject area. The structural features were not decisive for the clearance of the residence, which is why some residences only resemble larger farmhouses (such as the Aichholz residence ), but many new nobles wanted to convincingly convey their newly won status to the outside world. Residential houses that simply follow the “idea” of a mansion were representative of it and, conversely, formed a formal justification for lending a nobility to their owners. The residence is a building and legal monument of the Tyrolean postal and official nobility of the 16th and 17th centuries.

As early as 1836, Johann Andreas Schmeller's “Bavarian Dictionary” indicated that a residence was “an especially aristocratic” residence. The addition “special” implies that in the 19th century mansions were also inhabited by commoners. In fact, some residences came into civil or rural ownership as early as the 18th century.

The word residence in the sense of aristocratic residence is rarely used outside of South Tyrol, Austria and Bavaria. The identical term Ansitz in the older legal language can only be found in the singular.


The transition to the castle is fluid, but a residence usually resembles a manor house . In contrast to city ​​palaces , mansions are mostly either isolated in the country or in a village, but the exemption occasionally led to the designation of mansion for inner-city houses, such as the mansion Albersheim in Innsbruck or the mansion Stillendorf in Bozen.

In Austria there are said to be 200 mansions, 126 castles and 346 castle ruins, 1308 castles and 99 palaces.


See also

Individual evidence

  1. a b Walter Landi: Knight seats and residences in the Überetsch. The relationship between the high and late medieval knight seats and the modern seats in the area of ​​Appiano and Kaltern . In: Arx. Castles and palaces in Bavaria, Austria and South Tyrol, ed. from the Südtiroler Burgeninstitut , 2015/2, pp. 28–36.
  2. ^ Hannes Obermair : Bozen Süd - Bolzano Nord. Written form and documentary tradition of the city of Bozen up to 1500 . tape 2 . City of Bozen, Bozen 2008, ISBN 978-88-901870-1-8 , p. 108 ff., No. 1045 and 1091 .
  3. Gustav Pfeifer: raised to a noble free seat and honored . Side lights on the raised hide in the second half of the 16th century. With an edition attachment. In: Südtiroler Burgeninstitut (Ed.): Burgen, Perspektiven. 50 years of the South Tyrolean Castle Institute, 1961–2013. Universitätsverlag Wagner: Innsbruck 2013. ISBN 978-3-7030-0838-2 , pp. 307-330.
  4. a b Alexander Frhr. v. Hohenbühel: Princes' privileges , in: Deutsches Adelsblatt , No. 8 (August) 2017, pp. 12-14.
  5. Hannes Obermair, Helmut Stampfer : Urban living culture in late medieval Bolzano. In: Runkelstein Castle - the picture castle. Edited by the city of Bozen with the participation of the South Tyrolean Cultural Institute , Bozen: Athesia 2000. ISBN 88-8266-069-9 , pp. 397–409, especially pp. 398 f.
  6. ^ Johann Andreas Schmeller : Bavarian Dictionary . Third part, Stuttgart and Tübingen 1836, p. 299. Online
  7. ^ German legal dictionary : Ansitz
  8. Johann Christoph Adelung : Grammatical-critical dictionary of the High German dialect, with constant comparison of the other dialects, but especially the Upper German . Leipzig 1793–1801²: residence
  9. Andreas Weiss: Terms, designations and names of castles, palaces, residences . Salzburg, December 12, 2008, p. 5.