From the lost crown prince to fine dining in the dungeon and the border to Africa: Merano is full of surprises, secrets and anecdotes.

Did you know that one of them is even here with us at Castel Rundegg? Yes, you have read correctly! The owner of the house, David, is a passionate pigeon breeder, just like Emperor Franz Josef was. We will gladly tell you what fascinates them so much about these animals.

Of course, these are not the usual pigeons, but the graceful Viennese high-flying pigeon. The special feature? After the pigeon sting, as the morning release is called, the Viennese high-flying pigeon climbs up to 2,000 metres in the air, stays there for about 2 hours and then returns to the pigeon loft. The ascent takes place in figure-eight curves with the rhythm changes usually happening in waltz time, making their flight seem so graceful. You can admire this spectacle in the Rundegg every morning during breakfast. 

Now you probably want to know what the lost prince, the dungeon and the African border are all about, right? We'll be happy to tell you that, too...

The lost crown prince

Nearby, below the valley station of the Merano 2000 cable car, the son of Empress Sisi, Prince Rudolf, climbed a steep rock on Easter Sunday in 1858. Rumour has it that his father had a glass of wine or two in the hermit's inn and at some point the prince got bored, so he made his way home alone and got into this predicament. After hours of trepidation, he was finally heard by the farmer's wife Karolina Winkler, who freed him at a late hour. Even today, a marble plaque - formerly attached directly to the rock, today on the footpath below - commemorates this incident. 

Fine dining in the former dungeon under the arcades

Enjoy upscale cuisine where prisoners eked out an existence in the Middle Ages... You can experience this very special feeling in the Flora inn under the Merano arcades. The winding cellar vaults, where the cells were also located, have been converted into cosy dining rooms. In one of the former cells there is even a koi carp pond, over which you are served exquisite delicacies and elegant wines from the well-stocked wine cellar, also housed in a cell, separated only by a glass plate.

The border with Africa runs through Merano

Sounds strange, but it's true: the southern part of the city of Merano is in Africa, while the northern part is in Europe. Purely from a geological point of view, of course! Merano is divided in two by the Periadriatic Line. This is a geological borderline that stretches from Turin to southern Hungary. The African and European continental plates meet along this line. This border is visible on the rocks of the Zenoburg above the Gilf promenade: this consists of granite and gneiss, the typical rocks for the two continents respectively.

The Obermais village fountain

You don't have to walk far at all to come across one of Merano's landmarks: the Obermaiser Brunnenplatz. It takes its name - of course - from the village fountain, which has always been the centre of Merano's impressive villa district. Mentioned in a document as early as 1495, the fountain has lived through an eventful history, has been replaced several times by a new one and has already caused quite a stir among the people of Obermais in the new millennium. The old granite fountain had to make way for a new, sarcophagus-like fountain, which the citizens did not like at all and which was replaced by today's beautiful fountain in 2015 thanks to their commitment. Our tip: Enjoy a refreshing drink in one of the cafés on the square and soak up the authentic flair.

The Parish Church of Merano

As one of the first purely Gothic architectural monuments in Tyrol, Merano's parish church delights with, among other things, a multitude of valuable frescoes, interesting sculptures and paintings as well as stained glass windows from the late Gothic period. And the imposing church building in the middle of the old town has yet another special feature to offer: The church tower, visible from afar, has not four clocks as usual, but seven! After the buildings around it were built higher and higher and the clock was therefore no longer visible, it was decided to simply install additional clocks eight metres above the existing clocks on the three sides facing the city. Thanks to the latest technology, these clocks show the time to the second. 

Palais Mamming Museum

Fancy a bit of history? Then a visit to the Palais Mamming Museum is an absolute must! The building itself, a restored Baroque palace, is an absolute dream and the perfect stage for presenting the history of Merano's development - from prehistory and early history to the modern age. Even some exotics are at home here, including an Egyptian mummy, the Sudanese weapon collection of the adventurer Slatin Pasha and one of Napoleon's five death masks.