Hohenstaufen Castle was seat of the now-defunct House of Hohenstaufen. The castle was built around 1070 by Frederick I of Hohenstaufen (even before he became Duke of Swabia), as a fortress to protect family interests in the vicinity. Until the 13th century, the castle was a possession of the imperial and royal family, the Hohenstaufen dynasty. In 1181, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa stayed there; in 1208, Irene Angelina, the widow of Barbarossa"s son, the recently murdered Philip of Swabia, died at Hohenstaufen Castle.
After the fall of the Hohenstaufen in 1268, the castle was declared an imperial possession by the Habsburg king Rudolf I of Germany. The strategically and symbolically important location was a constant bone of contention between the Counts of Württemberg and the Holy Roman Emperor.
In 1372, Hohenstaufen Castle finally was in the hands of the Württemberg rulers. After the expulsion of Duke Ulrich of Württemberg by the members of the Swabian League in 1519, one Georg Staufer of Bloßenstaufen successfully claimed the castle, as a descendant of the old Hohenstaufen dynasty. Therefore, only a small force defended the castle in 1525, when it was taken and destroyed by insurgents during the German Peasants" War. Stones from the castle were later used in the construction of the Renaissance Göppingen Castle.
Since the German unification of 1871, Hohenstaufen Castle has been regarded as a national monument. The archaeologist Walther Veeck undertook excavations on it between 1936 and 1938, and further excavations were made between 1967 and 1971, uncovering and securing the castle foundations. A Hohenstaufen memorial stele was inaugurated in 2002. In 2009 additional work was done to preserve the site.
The Staufer Museum, located at the intersection of Pfarrgasse and Kaiserbergsteige in Hohenstaufen, contains artifacts from and historical information about the site. The trail that leads to the castle site starts between the two churches that are adjacent to the Staufer Museum.References:
Medvedgrad is a medieval fortified town located on the south slopes of Medvednica mountain, approximately halfway from the Croatian capital Zagreb to the mountain top Sljeme. For defensive purposes it was built on a hill, Mali Plazur, that is a spur of the main ridge of the mountain that overlooks the city. On a clear day the castle can be seen from far away, especially the high main tower. Below the main tower of the castle is Oltar Domovine (Altar of the homeland) which is dedicated to Croatian soldiers killed in the Croatian War of Independence.
In 1242, Mongols invaded Zagreb. The city was destroyed and burned to the ground. This prompted the building of Medvedgrad. Encouraged by Pope Innocent IV, Philip Türje, bishop of Zagreb, built the fortress between 1249 and 1254. It was later owned by bans of Slavonia. Notable Croatian and Hungarian poet and ban of Slavonia Janus Pannonius (Ivan Česmički) died in the Medvedgrad castle on March 27, 1472.
The last Medvedgrad owners and inhabitants was the Gregorijanec family, who gained possession of Medvedgrad in 1562. In 1574, the walls of Medvedgrad were reinforced, but after the 1590 Neulengbach earthquake, the fortress was heavily damaged and ultimately abandoned. It remained in ruins until the late 20th century, when it was partly restored and now offers a panoramic view of the city from an altitude of over 500 meters.