Castles in Solothurn Canton

Neu-Falkenstein Castle

Neu-Falkenstein Castle in Balsthal was probably built in the early 12th century by local noble family. In 1356 it was damaged by earthquake and during restoration got a new appearance. This is why the castle is called 'new' Falkenstein.  The castle was destroyed in 1798 by local peasants during the Helvetic Revolution. Today the impressive ruins are restored.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Balsthal, Switzerland

Dorneck Castle

Dorneck Castle was built in the 11th century and documented first time in 1360, when it was sold to Habsburg family. It took part to the battles in 1499 (Schwabian War), 1525 (Peasants" War) before it was destroyed by French army in 1798. Today impressive ruins remain.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Dornach, Switzerland

Neu-Bechburg Castle

Neu-Bechburg Castle was built in 1250 by the Lord of Bechburg. The castle changed owners several times and, in 1635, it temporarily became the seat of the Bishop of Basel. Later it served as a private apartment, an inn and finally a stone quarry. In 1835 it was acquired by Johannes Riggenbach. His son Friedrich restored the castle from 1880 onwards.
Founded: 1250 | Location: Oensingen, Switzerland

Frohburg Castle

Frohburg Castle area was already inhabitated in Bronze and Roman Ages. In the 10th century the local Frohburg noble family ruled the area and built the castle. It was enlarged during the Middle Ages and also an iron furnace was established. Frohburg family line died out around in 1367 and the castle was left to decay. Later the stones were reused by local farmers. Today the ruins are one of the most popular sights in Olt ...
Founded: 10th century AD | Location: Trimbach, Switzerland

Waldegg Castle

The Baroque Waldegg Castle castle was built in 1682-86 as the summer home for Schultheiss Johann Viktor von Besenval (1638-1713) and his wife Maria Margaritha von Sury (1649—1713). His son, Johann Viktor II (1671-1736) was a diplomat and an officer in the French Swiss Guards. After he inherited the castle he had it renovated (1729-34), adding a theater and the chapel of St. Michael, and decorated in the current French ...
Founded: 1682-1686 | Location: Feldbrunnen-St.Niklaus, Switzerland

Buchegg Castle

Buchegg Castle, built in 1546, has a square tower with a hip roof. The Counts of Buchegg had a castle on the site until 1383 when it was destroyed by the House of Kyburg. The current building saw service as a prison and came into private ownership in 1863. It was restored in 1938 and was converted to a museum in 1956.
Founded: 1546 | Location: Kyburg-Buchegg, Switzerland

Balm Cave Castle Ruins

The Balm ruins are the remains of a fortified cave dwelling in the Jura Mountains, in the municipality of Balm bei Günsberg. It is that canton"s only cave stronghold and one of the few in Switzerland. The stronghold was built 20 metres high in a natural cave of about 20 metres wide and 6 metres deep. The outer wall was provided with two doorways and some narrow windows. The wet rock face was covered with a lining ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Balm bei Günsberg, Switzerland

Alt-Bechburg Castle

Alt-Bechburg Castle was built in about 1050 by the barons of Bechburg. The castle was destroyed by fire in 1713 and never rebuilt. Nowadays it is a fine viewpoint. The vast Manna Table (9x11 metres), is a nice place for visitors to the castle to rest a while.
Founded: c. 1050 | Location: Holderbank, Switzerland

Blumenstein Manor

The Régence style Blumenstein manor house was built in 1725-1728 for the governor Franz Heinrich von Stäffis-Mollondin in the center of a 20 hectares terraced park. After Franz Heinrich"s death in 1749 the estate passed to his son Joseph Lorenz von Stäffis-Mollondin. When Joseph died in 1758 without an heir the Stäffis-Mollondin family ended and the estate was divided between his daughters Johanna Karolina Anop ...
Founded: 1725-1728 | Location: Solothurn, Switzerland

Wartenfels Castle

Wartenfels Castle was erected in the early 13th century by the Wartenfels counts, vassals of Habsburg family. Later it was owned by several families and in the 18th and 19th centuries residential buildings were added as well as a chapel.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Lostorf, Switzerland

Neu-Thierstein Castle

Neu-Thierstein Castle was founded in 1100 and a new building was built around 1294/95. The castle was apparently built by the Saugern-Pfeffingen family as a seat for a Kastvogtei (or a vogt with authority over a religious structure) who ruled over Beinwil Abbey. The first mention of the castle comes from 1321 when it was called Bello. As heirs of the Saugern-Pfeffingen family, in the late 12th Century, the count o ...
Founded: 1100 | Location: Büsserach, Switzerland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.