Veste Landskron is a Renaissance water castle built between 1576 and 1579. The construction was started by Ulrich II von Schwerin, member of one of the oldest Pomeranian noble houses. The castle deteriorated due to the impact of the Thirty Years' War, during which the villages around Landskron were burned down, and mismanagement. When the owner Georg Ernst died in 1651, Landskron was inherited by his daughter Anna, who married the Swedish noble von Anrieppe. Their daughter Agnes von Anrieppe married Jürgen von Pentz, who soon abandoned Landskron and in 1699 sold it to Philipp von Schwerin, a nephew of Otto von Schwerin, advisor of the Brandenburgian elector, for 13,000 thalers. Philipp von Schwerin did not rebuild the castle, which had further detoriorated during the Scanian War, but moved his residence to nearby Rehberg.
The ruins of the castle have attracted tourists since the 19th century. In 1852, a tavern was built on the ruins of the kitchen building in the courtyard. This building was occupied until the 1960s, but subsequently demolished. Today, it is a tourist attraction and used as a site for concerts and other events.
The rectangular main building, a keep about 25 metres long and 15 metres wide with three upper stories and a basement, was secured by four round towers attached to its edges, a wall and a moat. One of the keep's towers (Hungerturm) was used as a dungeon to incarcerate abducted people held for ransom. Attached to the keep's eastern front was the entrance building. In front of the entrance to the keep, which could be reached by a drawbridge, laid the courtyard, and both the keep and the courtyard were surrounded by an outer wall and another moat.
In the west, the outer wall was immediately adjacent to the inner moat and comprised five small bastions. The castle was entered through a gatehouse in the northern outer wall, comprising a guardhouse west of the gateway that led to the courtyard, and the stables in its eastern part, where also a well was located. A second drawbridge, made from copper according to legend, spanned the outer moat in front of the gatehouse. Two other separate buildings stood on the courtyard - a chapel to the south and a kitchen to the east. The castle was finished in 1579.
The initial and still most widely used name of the castle was Landskron ('Land's Crown'). Legend tells that the name was frowned upon by the Pomeranian duke, who pressured Ulrich to rename it Lanzkron ('Lance's Crown'), which is also in use as an alternative name.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.