Grynau castle tower is situated at the then only bridge over the Linth river. Built probably in the early 13th century by the House of Rapperswil, the castle secured the strategically important river crossing in the area between the Grafschaft Rapperswil and the House of Toggenburg. The property was documented in 1311, when the castle was taken by force by Rudolf von Laufenburg-Rapperswil probably from the Toggenburg family.

In the summer of 1799, the French and Austrian troops fought in the Second Coalition War at the strategically important bridge which was destroyed three times, and rebuilt, and occupied by the French troops in the aftermath of the Second Battle of Zurich. Again in 1833, Swiss federal troops were concentrated at the Grynau castle, on occasion of the then planned division of the canton of Schwyz, however, waived without an armed intervention. And again in a Swiss civil war, the so-called Sonderbundskrieg, federal troops crossed the important bridge in March 1847, without a single dead soldier on both sides.

In the 19th century the remaining buildings, the tower, the adjacent barn and the former accommodation building, were bought by Schlossvogt Kälin, who rebuilt the surrounding building into the Landgasthof Schloss Grynau, a country inn, which is still held by the family.

The architecture dates back to the early 13th century. The five-story tower measures 12.5 x 12.5 metres, the foundation walls are 2.2 metres meters thick. The castle was between 1807 and 1816 widely rebuilt on occasion of the construction of the Linth channel; the road and bridge cross as of today in between the preserved tower and the former economic structures that were widely broken. In 1906 a fire broke out in the barn, which was adjacent to the tower and destroyed the roof and the interior of the tower. The castle tower was re-decorated and re-roofed and a new barn built in the following year.


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Tuggen, Switzerland
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Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Switzerland

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Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.