Höhlenburg Fracstein

Grottenburg Fracstein

Useful Information

Location: Seewis im Prättigau, at the road between Grüsch and Landquart. A Zürich-St. Gallen exit Landquart, follow main road towards Davos, turn off at campground or behind the tunnel and follow old road through the gorge.
Open: no restrictions [2005]
Fee: free [2005]
Classification: SubterraneaCave Castle
Light: none, not necessry
Guided tours:
Bibliography: Maria-Letizia Boscardin (1977): Die Grottenburg Fracstein und ihre Ritzzeichnungen, Schweizer Beiträge zur Kulturgeschichte und Archäologie des Mittelalters, Bd. 4. Olten 1977.
O. P. Clavadetscher, W. Meyer (1984): Grottenburg Fracstein, Das Burgenbuch von Graubünden, 1984, 330-338
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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12th century castle built by the Lords of Aspermont.
1338 first mentioned in the treaty as it was sold to the Counts of Toggenburg.
1466 sold to the Austrian empire who abandoned the castle.
1530 church abandoned.
1570 castle ruined.
1621 dam renovated.
1622 small Austrian army unit stationed at the casle, but chasen away by the locals.
1649 Prättigau becomes independent and the castle ruine is now owned by the village Schiers.
1799 the Bündner Landsturm tried to stop the French invasion here, but failed.
19th century further destruction by the construction of the railroad and the modern road. Ruin used as a quarry.


old engraving of the cave castle and the gorge.

The Grottenburg Fracstein (cave castle Fracstein) is located in an extremely prominent place, in the gorge called Klus, the entrance to the Prättigau. This castle with its dam was able to protect the access to the Prättigau through this narrow gorge. The main stronghold once had four storeys and was surrounded by a wall called Letzi. There was also the church St. Aper and the house of the castle priest a little down the valley. At the river Landquart below was a toll station. Both were connected by a wall.

The most impressive sight of this ruin are the gravures from the 13th century. They are located in the plastering inside the residential building, in the former third floor. The gravures show various castles with wooden constructions, palisades and the coats of arms of local knights. The most important ones are today in the Rhätisches Museum in Chur.

To reach the castle is a bit tricky. The narrow gorge is a main route to Davos and the new RegionVereina Tunnel at Klosters, so traffic is rather heavy, and there is no parking possibility. A new tunnel was built to avoid the gorge completely, but the old road through the gorge still exists. It is used only by inline skaters and bicyclists now. You may switch to this road on both ends of the gorge, but while you just follow the white sign to Landquart at the first turnoff east of the tunnel, it is hard to find the small single lane track on the western side. There is a small turnoff soon after Landquart, about 200 m before the big gas station, which is signposted with a camping symbol, then turn right on a single track road which runs parallel to the highway.

There is a parking possibility at the entrance to the gorge, then follow the road to Grüsch by foot. In the middle of the gorge is a stair and a small passage through in the mountainside wall along the road. After a stair up, follow the unmarked trail to the foot of the cliff. Then turn left to the ruin.