The Pühalepa Church is Hiiumaa’s oldest stone church. In 1255, the German Order started the construction of a stone fortress-church. Initially lacking a steeple, the arched stone church was completed in the 14th century, but the construction of the steeple was not started until 1770.
During the Livonian war (16th century) the Pühalepa church was plundered, but it was restored again at the beginning of the 17th century. At least it is said that the Scottish admiral Clayton, who died of plague in 1603 in Hiiumaa, was buried in the church with dignity. In the first quarter of the 17th century, the Danes plundered the church.
In 1636 the landlords of Hiiessaare (named Gentschien) donated a gorgeous stone pulpit to the congregation (rare anywhere in Estonia), thus buying themselves the right to be buried in the church choir-room. Their tombstone stands by the southern window of the choir-room.
The Soviet period was just as costly to the church as was the Livonian war. During the occupation, the church was closed, the benches were cut out, the organ was smashed and the church was turned into a warehouse. After independence was regained, the church also recovered. Now the congregation once again owns the church and most of the former church property has been returned. The altarpiece that was lost during the war has been replaced by a colourful stained glass. Services and concerts are held regularly in the church.
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.