Medieval castles in Switzerland

Neuburg Castle

Neuburg Castle was first built during the late 13th century or early 14th, most likely for the Baron Tumb von Neuburg from Vorarlberg. It is unclear whether there was an earlier castle or why the Tumb von Neuburg family acquired land in Graubünden. It was first mentioned in 1345 as Nüwburg. In 1360 they had to give the castle to Heinz and Martin Buwix as collateral for a loan, but by 1385 they were back in possession of ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Untervaz, Switzerland

Obertagstein Castle

Obertagstein Castle was probably built in the 13th century by the Masein/Rialt family near Untertagstein Castle. In 1316 Margareta von Rialt left all her properties in Tagstein to her nieces. The first mention of a castle in the area is in 1322, but it probably refers to Untertagstein in Masein. In 1322 the male line of the Rialt family died out and it was inherited by the Bärenburg family. The Bärenburg family were min ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Thusis, Switzerland

Rietberg Castle

The central tower and oldest part of the Rietberg Castle was built in the 13th century, though it may have been built around an earlier 12th-century tower. It was built for the Lords of Rietberg, who in 1286 were vassals of the Freiherr von Sax-Misox. In the 14th century they became vassals of the Bishop of Chur. At that time they held the castle and estates in Schams, Chur and Oberhalbstein and were the bishop"s rep ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Pratval, Switzerland

Strassberg Castle

The castle was built in the 12th century to guard the road from Chur over the alpine passes. The oldest part of the castle, the ring wall, was built in the second half of the 12th century. The main tower was added in the early 13th century. The Lords of Strassberg first appear in the historical record in 1253. The ring wall around the main castle originally had a residential building along the north side and still shows ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Churwalden, Switzerland

Wynegg Castle

Wynegg castle was built in the 13th century for the Wynegg family. The first known member of the family, Ludwig von Wynegg, appears in a record in 1254. The family last appears in 1270 when Ulrich von Wynegg was mentioned. The family probably served the Bishop of Chur or the Freiherr von Vaz. After the family died out, the castle and lands were inherited by Vaz family, though the Bishop also claimed that he owned the cast ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Malans, Switzerland

Hünenberg Castle

Hünenberg Castle was built in the 12th century and mentioned first time in 1173. At the Battle of Sempach in 1386 Hünenberg fought on the side of Habsburg family and the castle was destroyed after the defeat. During the following three decades the Hünenberg family also lost their power and reputation. In 1416, Rudolf von Hünenberg sold the ruined castle and its rights to the Bütler brothers. The keep was still standi ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Hünenberg, Switzerland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of the Savior on Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.

In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.