With more than 800 castles, palaces and manor houses, South Tyrol/Südtirol has a large cultural heritage to preserve. In order to maintain these, over the years the historic buildings of the region have been used for many other purposes, such as serving as museums or hotels.
Among the most popular are Tyrol Castle and the castle of Trauttmansdorff, Juval and Lebenberg. The first is considered the cradle of Tyrol and was the former seat of the counts of Tyrol. The second was the residence of the Empress Elisabeth of Austria-Hungary, and today hosts the Museum of Tourism as well as one of the most beautiful gardens in the world. Juval Castle above Naturno/Naturns is home to the Messner Mountain Museum. Lebenberg Castle above Cermes/Tscherms near Lana is open to the public through guided tours, and Castel Fragsburg above Merano/Meran is now a renowned restaurant.
The castle villages of Tesimo-Prissiano/Tisens-Prissian are located south of Merano, and are host to six castles, among them Katzenzungen, Wehrburg and Fahlburg castles. Also worth a mention are the Schenna Castle and Mausoleum of the Archduke Johann.
During the Christmas season, several former manor houses are used for traditional Advent markets.