The heritage of the Mountain: permanent exhibition
the mountain peoples
MMM Ripa is part of a six-centered encounter with the mountains. Reinhold Messner has chosen Bruneck Castle, once the summer residence of the prince bishops, to present mountain peoples from Asia, Africa, South America and Europe, and to reflect on their cultures, religions and tourism activities. The mountain culture is reflected in the daily lives of their inhabitants, who impart life and history to the mountains of the world. This heritage of the mountains, which has ensured survival over the millennia for the people living high up on the brink of life, can now be appreciated at MMM Ripa – with the help of their dwellings, videos and encounters.
Bruneck Castle, which stands on a hill on the south side of the town of the same name in the Puster Valley in South Tyrol, has been chosen by Reinhold Messner to accommodate the last of his five centers of encounter with the mountains, which is dedicated to the people who live there. Surrounded by mountain farms and offering views of the popular Kronplatz skiing and walking area, the rural scenery of the Ahrn Valley and the mighty Zillertal Alps, it is the ideal location for MMM Ripa (in Tibetan: ri=mountain, pa=man).
It is the people in the mountains who give them life and a history.
Bruneck Castle: history & restoration
Bruneck Castle was built in 1250 by Bruno von Kirchberg, Prince Bishop of Brixen, and first called Castrum Bruneke in a historical document dated 1271. From the second half of the 13th century, the town of Bruneck grew at the foot of the hill occupied by the castle. Under Prince Bishop Albert von Enn, major additions were made to the castle and the fortifications, namely four gates, the city walls and the moat. Further striking changes were made by Prince Bishop Ulrich Putsch, who enlarged the living quarters, increased the height of the keep and added a pointed roof. The castle suffered severe damage in 1460 when it was besieged by Duke Sigmund (lord of Sigmundskron Castle, today’s MMM Firmian) in pursuit of Cardinal Nicolas Cusanus, who had sought sanctuary there. Under Cusanus’ successor, Bishop Georg Golser, the fortifications were repaired and further strengthened out of fear of the Turks.
In 1825 the premises were let to Bruneck municipality and used as a barracks and jail, but the castle fell increasingly into decay until extensive restoration work was carried out under Prince Bishop Simon Aichner. From 1969, various halls and rooms of the castle were used as classrooms. In 2004 the Südtiroler Sparkasse Foundation bought the medieval building for use by Bruneck city council and Reinhold Messner.
Bruneck Castle reflects the periods in which alterations and additions were made in a variety of styles. Gothic vaulting, and Renaissance and Baroque rooms and decorative painting in the courtyard are still preserved today. In 2009-2011, the castle was refurbished for use as a museum by the Puster Valley architects Kurt Egger, Gerhard Mahlknecht and Heinrich Mutschlechner of EM2. They took account of the various periods of construction and created additional exhibition space in the form of an underground extension beneath the bailey (along the western perimeter wall). For the additional structures, modern materials like glass and steel, and a light gray stain for the wood, were used to make them stand out against the historical fabric of the castle.