Vertical shift

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The vertical shift is a phenomenon of medieval castle building . The term describes the "process of the gradual detachment of the castle from the settlement and estate association" in the European 12th and 13th centuries. The phenomenon of the "higher migration" of castle complexes away from the closed settlement association to isolated heights has been observed since around 1100 first among the higher nobility , and in a second wave it also affects the ministerials .

The almost regular replacement of the castle seats and the associated change in naming in the inner-Alpine region , especially in Graubünden and Tyrol, are particularly evident . But the “jumping higher” of castles can also be observed in flat landscapes such as Lower Austria or the Lower Rhine .

The fundamental Tyrolean investigations by Martin Bitschnau have shown that the change of location in the heights should be seen less against a military than a socio-historical background. Accordingly, the high altitude movement does not express so much the much sought-after "favor of the location" as the distancing of the nobility from subordinate sections of the population. The hilltop castle becomes an "object of identification of rule and power" and also makes visible , structurally and architecturally, the stronger legalization, independence and the ethos of a privileged elite . This addresses the high medieval castle building as a phenomenon of social inequality , the manifestation of which reveals the mechanisms of high medieval society.

Tyrolean examples of the vertical shift (and the name change of the castle seat) are the Haselburg near Bozen (Haslach → Haselberg / burg; high altitude hike shortly before 1237), the Leonburg (Lana → Lanaburg / berg) near Lana or Schloss Freundsberg near Schwaz .


  • Martin Bitschnau : Castle and nobility in Tyrol between 1050 and 1300. Basics for their research (= Austrian Academy of Sciences. Philosophical-Historical Class. Meeting reports. Vol. 403 = Communications from the Commission for Castle Research and Medieval Archeology. Special Vol . 1). Publishing house of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna 1983, ISBN 3-7001-0520-7 .

Individual evidence

  1. Erwin Poeschel : The Castle Book of Graubünden. Orell Füssli, Zurich 1929, p. 40.
  2. ^ Gerhard Seebach : Lower Austrian Bergfriede. Typological research and dating questions. In: Our home. Journal of the Association for Regional Studies of Lower Austria and Vienna. Vol. 45, 1974, ISSN  1017-2696 , p. 174.
  3. ^ Martin Bitschnau: Castle and nobility in Tyrol between 1050 and 1300. P. 9 ff.
  4. Hannes Obermair: Haslach: History of an old (and young) Bozen district . , accessed October 15, 2017