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Burg Hocheppan castle chapel

Burg Hocheppan castle chapel

An unparalleled cycle of frescoes from the High Middle Ages

Hocheppan Castle boasts an exceptional location on a hill high above the mountain village of Missiano/Missian. From their fortress under the Gantkofel mountain, the Counts of Appiano/Eppan overlooked the whole valley, which was of great strategic importance in the Middle Ages and beyond. Today, the views over the Tschögglberg and the Ritten high plateaus to the Dolomites are particularly impressive. According to evidence from excavation works, the protected castle hill was already inhabited in the late antique and early medieval periods.
Burg Hocheppan castle chapel
Burg Hocheppan castle chapel
“All that I have written seems like straw compared to what has now been revealed to me.”
Thomas of Aquin (1224 - 1274)
The Romanesque Hocheppan Castle was built in the first half of the 12th century as the seat of the Counts of Appiano/Eppan, who gradually expanded and enlarged it until they died out in the middle of the 13th century. Parts of the castle and the turrets date from the late Middle Ages. The pentagonal keep is also exceptional.

The castle courtyard houses the Burg Hocheppan castle chapel, which was consecrated in 1131. This Romanesque jewel features a unique cycle of frescoes that was uniformly designed and executed.

The frescoes of Hocheppan Castle
The Romanesque cycle of frescoes at Hocheppan Castle is one of the most valuable in Tyrol. Stories, such as the birth of Christ, the parable of the wise and foolish virgins, or the murder of children in Bethlehem, are impressively depicted. The outer facade features Tyrol's oldest secular mural painting, a hunting scene with a horseman and a fleeing stag. Also famous is the "dumpling eater,” which depicts a woman who, during the birth of Christ, removes a dumpling from a cauldron over an open fire and tastes it. This rare depiction of an everyday scene, shows that dumplings were enjoyed in South Tyrol even then.
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