Colpach Castle was originally a small medieval stronghold surrounded by a moat, similar to the castles at Ell and Everlange. The earliest reference dates from 1303. From 1628, it belonged to the Pforzheims who filled in the moat and converted it into a modest manor house around 1747 (the date on the entrance gate). In the 19th century, it was administered as a farming centre by Baron Edouard de Marches who lived in Guirsch Castle near Arlon. In about 1870, he laid out the gardens surrounding the castle. The lake with an island, the curved pathways, the ornamental bushes and trees can still be seen today. In 1874, his widow née Cécile Papier married the famous Hungarian painter Michael Munkácsy. They spent their summers in Colpach Castle and the winters in Paris. In 1886, Franz Liszt visited the couple in Colpach shortly before his death. After 1900, the castle was increasingly deserted by Munkácsy's widow who died in 1915.
Émile Mayrisch, head of ARBED, bought the castle and surrounding area on 27 January 1917. From 1917 to 1920, he had the castle enlarged and modified by the architect Sosthène Weis, lending it a simple but elegant style.
Together with his wife Aline, Mayrisch made the castle a centre of attraction for noteworthy politicians, economists, writers and artists between the two world wars. Guests included Walther Rathenau, André Gide, Jacques Rivière, Otto Bartning and Théo van Rysselberghe.
In 1947, Aline Mayrisch bequeathed the castle to the Red Cross for use as a convalescent home. The facilities have been constantly improved over the years. The park is open to visitors all the year round. It is particularly suitable for handicapped visitors.References:
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.