Top Historic Sights in Rapperswil-Jona, Switzerland

Explore the historic highlights of Rapperswil-Jona

Rapperswil Castle

Rapperswil Castle was built in the early 13th century AD by the House of Rapperswil. It is surrounded on three sides by the Lake Zürich and by those upper section on the northwestern Seedamm area. Thus, the castle was well protected, dominating the old town of Rapperswil, and controlling the water way between Walensee and Lake Zürich on its most narrow part, as well as the medieval Gotthard Pass route betwee ...
Founded: 1200-1220 | Location: Rapperswil-Jona, Switzerland

Einsiedlerhaus

Einsiedlerhaus is a historic building with an adjoint garden which is part of the former town wall of Rapperswil. Situated on the shore of Zürichsee lake, Einsiedlerhaus is the eastern extension of the fortification of a neighbouring Capuchin friary. The building was probably built in the 13th century, or maybe two centuries earlier. The Zürichsee lake shore area of Endingen was given by the Einsiedeln Abbey ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Rapperswil-Jona, Switzerland

St. John's Church

Stadtpfarrkirche St. Johann church is located next to Rapperswil Castle. The castle and the parish church were built by Count Rudolf II and his son Rudolf III around 1220/29. The former parish church was located at Busskirch on upper Zürichsee lake shore, being one of the oldest churches around the lake area. Even the citizens of Rapperswil had to attend services in Busskirch until Count Rudolf II built his own pa ...
Founded: 1220-1229 | Location: Rapperswil-Jona, Switzerland

Capuchin Friary

The Capuchin Friary is situated to the west of the city of Rapperswil, below the Lindenhof of Rapperswil Castle on the shore of Lake Zürich on a peninsula called the Endingerhorn. The friary was established in 1606, consisting originally of only four priests and three brothers (friars), as a Roman Catholic counterpart to the centre of the Reformation in Zürich. The monastic buildings were built by the citize ...
Founded: 1606 | Location: Rapperswil-Jona, Switzerland

St. Martin Busskirch Church

The early medieval Parish church of St. Martin Busskirch with its cemetery rests on the remains of a Roman building (1st to 4th century AD). It is one of the oldest churches around the Lake Zürich. Even the citizens of Rapperswil had to attend services in Busskirch until Count Rudolf II of Rapperswil built his own church and a chapel next to Rapperswil Castle in 1253. In 1351 St. Martin Busskirch was incorporated by th ...
Founded: 9th century AD | Location: Rapperswil-Jona, Switzerland

Wurmsbach Abbey

Wurmsbach Abbey is a monastery of Cistercian nuns located in Bollingen, a locality of Rapperswil-Jona. Count Rudolf of Rapperswil gave his castle of Wurmsbach together with a considerable area of land in 1259 for the foundation of a religious house and the abbey was established. It was initially a dependency of the Cistercian monks of Abbey of St. Urban in Wettingen. The abbey church was dedicated in 1281.  ...
Founded: 1281 | Location: Rapperswil-Jona, Switzerland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Derbent Fortress

Derbent is the southernmost city in Russia, occupying the narrow gateway between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus Mountains connecting the Eurasian steppes to the north and the Iranian Plateau to the south. Derbent claims to be the oldest city in Russia with historical documentation dating to the 8th century BCE. Due to its strategic location, over the course of history, the city changed ownership many times, particularly among the Persian, Arab, Mongol, Timurid, Shirvan and Iranian kingdoms.

Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic peculiarity, the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world.

A traditionally and historically Iranian city, the first intensive settlement in the Derbent area dates from the 8th century BC. The site was intermittently controlled by the Persian monarchs, starting from the 6th century BC. Until the 4th century AD, it was part of Caucasian Albania which was a satrap of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the 5th century Derbent functioned as a border fortress and the seat of Sassanid Persians. Because of its strategic position on the northern branch of the Silk Route, the fortress was contested by the Khazars in the course of the Khazar-Arab Wars. In 654, Derbent was captured by the Arabs.

The Sassanid fortress does not exist any more, as the famous Derbent fortress as it stands today was built from the 12th century onward. Derbent became a strong military outpost and harbour of the Sassanid empire. During the 5th and 6th centuries, Derbent also became an important center for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.

The site continued to be of great strategic importance until the 19th century. Today the fortifications consist of two parallel defence walls and Naryn-Kala Citadel. The walls are 3.6km long, stretching from the sea up to the mountains. They were built from stone and had 73 defence towers. 9 out of the 14 original gates remain.

In Naryn-Kala Citadel most of the old buildings, including a palace and a church, are now in ruins. It also holds baths and one of the oldest mosques in the former USSR.

In 2003, UNESCO included the old part of Derbent with traditional buildings in the World Heritage List.