Reinhold Messner is definitely one of the most famous people from South Tyrol. He gained his fame as a rock climber, expedition mountaineer, polar and desert crosser and has repeatedly broken taboos. For four decades he gathered experience at the extreme edges of the earth, which today enables him to create a museum chain on the theme of mountains. Messner himself calls this project his “15th eight-thousander”.
The Messner Mountain Museum, initiated by Reinhold Messner, comprises a six-part museum structure, whereby each house, like a satellite, is dedicated to a sub-theme. We will gradually introduce you to all the museums here and have already started with the MMM Ortles. Today we take you to the MMM Ripa at Bruneck Castle.
The heritage of the mountains: permanent exhibition at MMM Ripa
Mountain peoples of the world
The MMM Ripa at Bruneck Castle, which once served as the summer residence of the prince-bishops, is dedicated to mountain peoples from all over the world – Asia, Africa, South America and Europe – as well as their culture, religion and tourism.
As mountain culture is particularly reflected in the everyday life of mountain dwellers, the “heritage of the mountains”, which has ensured survival high up in the mountains for thousands of years, is brought closer to museum visitors through dwellings, films and encounters.
Modern alpinism is only 250 years old or young. But people have been living in the mountains for more than 10,000 years. First as hunters, then as nomadic shepherds and until today as farmers and cattle breeders. Between valley floors and summer pastures, they have developed their own mountain culture, which, in contrast to urban culture, is based on personal responsibility, consumerism and neighbourly help.
Reinhold Messner dedicates his museum in the South Tyrolean Pustertal to this way of life – different from place to place, yet similar. Surrounded by mountain farms, with a view of the touristically successful Kronplatz, the rural Ahrntal and the Zillertal Alps, it is the ideal location for the MMM Ripa (Tibetan: ri = mountain; pa = man).
The history of Bruneck Castle
Bruneck Castle was built in 1250 by Brixen Prince-Bishop Bruno von Kirchberg and was first called “Castrum Bruneke” in 1271. From the second half of the 13th century, the town of Bruneck emerges at the foot of the Schlossberg. Under Prince-Bishop Albert von Enn, the castle and fortifications were greatly expanded; four city gates, the city wall and the moat were built during this period. Further significant reconstruction work was carried out under Prince-Bishop Ulrich Putsch, who had the residential wing enlarged, the keep added to and a pointed roof added. However, the castle suffered considerable damage in 1460 when it was besieged by Duke Sigmund (Lord of Sigmundskron Castle, today MMM Firmian), as Cardinal Nikolaus Cusanus was entrenched there. Under Bishop Georg Golser, Cusanus’ successor, the fortifications are not only renovated, but also extended once again out of fear of the Turks.
In 1825, the city leases the castle, which serves as barracks and court prison, but visibly deteriorates – until Prince Bishop Simon Aichner thoroughly renovates the castle. From 1969, the castle’s rooms are used as classrooms. In 2004, the South Tyrolean Savings Bank Foundation bought the medieval building and left its use to the municipality of Bruneck or Reinhold Messner.
Special exhibition 2021-2022
mountain man.bergmensch.uomo di montagna.persona da mont.
Mountain photography meets mountain people:
A cooperation between LUMEN – Museum of Mountain Photography and MMM RIPA.
As early as 10,000 years ago, people lived in the mountains as hunters and later as migratory shepherds. Today they live there with their families as farmers and cattle breeders or as mountain guides or sherpas. In the exhibition Mountain Man, the LUMEN and the MESSNER MOUNTAIN MUSEUM RIPA, in cooperation with National Geographic, undertake a foray through the world of mountain people and present their everyday lives in two exhibitions at both locations. The journey goes from farmers in India, Buthan and Namibia to an eagle hunter in Mongolia, from the Samburu warriors in Kenya to the Whakis in Afghanistan. We meet a girl from Haiti, a Sherpa from Nepal, pilgrims in China, experience the rice harvest in the Philippines and learn about the Shinto-Misogi ceremony from Japan. The exhibition continues in the MMM RIPA cinema.
MMM Ripa Opening Hours & Contact
MMM Ripa is open from the second Sunday in May to 1 November from 10am to 6pm, and from 7 December (closed on 24 & 25 December) to 25 April from 12pm to 6pm.
Tuesdays are closing days.
I-39031 Bruneck (BZ)
Tel. +39 0474 410220
We hope you enjoy exploring the heritage of the mountains!