Station: [12] Old Gatekeeper’s House, Erbsengasse 1

M: Nowhere else in Niederstetten is the sense of the past as powerful as it is here, in the narrow confines of Erbsengasse – Pea Alley – with its little cottages. From the 16th century onwards, this was what the town as a whole looked like, before large parts were destroyed during the Second World War. Erbsengasse has remained unscathed, though.

F: Take a look at the cottages with their neat fronts and rough backs. The houses were built right up against the old town wall, once it had outlived its usefulness as a fortification. It’s been preserved in their walls.

M: The very first building in the alley is the Gatekeeper's House. In the 16th century, people could only enter and leave the town through two gates – the Lower Gate and the Upper Gate. A third gate, the Kemmather Tor, was added much later.

F: The Upper Gate was built over the main road. It had to be dismantled in 1852, but you can still trace its outline in the tarmac. The image on your screen shows an antique cup decorated with a picture of the Vorbach (the local stream) with the Upper Gate beyond. It’s the tall white building with the red gable. Unfortunately, this is the only surviving image of the Upper Gate.
But the Gatekeeper's House and the neighbouring cottages still exist and have been lovingly restored in recent years. A specially founded society – the Torhausverein, or Gatehouse Association – has taken on the maintenance and holds events in the Gatekeeper's House. Feel free to stroll along the alley and take in the atmosphere.

M: Now – do you fancy going for a bit of a hike? No doubt you’ve already noticed Haltenbergstetten Palace or Haltenbergstetten Palace high up on the hill. The footpath leads up flights of stairs with a great many steps. But once you reach the top, we have tales about the palace waiting for you, not to mention the stunning view. Unfortunately, there’s no accessible route up to the palace, and it isn’t open to the public except on request.

Fotos: © Trüpschuch