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 Anophe and Ludovika Franziska, their grandmother Jeanne Charlotte Cléophe and their mother Marie Jeanne Nicole. In 1797 Ludovika Franziska married Robert Fidel Carl Wallier von St. Aubin and the entire estate passed to the von St. Aubin family. In 1847 Ludovika Franziska died and Blumenstein passed to her sister in law Charlotte Glutz-Wallier von St. Aubin. About a decade later, in 1856, her sons Edmund, Ludwig and Alfred Glutz-Ruchti inherited the house. In 1861 Edmund bought out his brothers shares and became the only owner of Blumestein.
Edmund Glutz-Ruchti bequeathed Blumenstein in 1885 to his nephew Joseph Glutz-Ruchti. Over next decades Joseph modernized the old building and installed central heating which changed it from a summer residence into a home that was comfortable year round. He supported the renovations and lavish lifestyle by selling the furnishings and the lands around the estate. However, by the mid-1920s he was insolvent. When Joseph went bankrupt, Blumenstein was sold at auction. On 18 October 1928, the Basel architect HR Steuer bought the empty castle and the remaining garden for 400,000 Francs. The garden was divided into lots and sold as building land.
The main building and the land immediately around the building were purchased on 11 September 1933 by Fritz Hirt-Baumgartner for 85,000 francs. Over the following two decades Fritz Hirt-Baumgartner and his wife Lucie attempted to buy back all the furnishings and outbuildings from Blumenstein.
On 7 February 1951 the couple sold Blumenstein for CHF 180,000 along with its inventory for CHF 40,000 to the municipality of Solothurn. The Blumenstein Museum or Historical Museum of Solothurn opened on 3 May 1952. Fritz Hirt-Baumgartner's wife Lucie retained the right to reside in several rooms of the upper floor until her death in 1977.
Today the museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday. Admission is free and some rooms are available to rent for parties and meetings.References:
Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.
Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.
The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.
In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.
The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.
The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.