First mentioned as a fortified complex in 1125 and used as a chapel, Bürgeln was built by local land-owner Lord Werner von Kaltenbach, who subsequently donated all his possessions to the St. Blasien Benedictine monastery. Under monastic control, Bürgeln became the seat of the St. Blasien Provost, the religious representative and church tax collector for the local area, including the convent at Sitzenkirch and the nearby communities of Obereggenen and Marzell. During the peasant's revolt of 1525 the castle was looted. Then in 1556 Charles II Margrave of Baden-Durlach, in whose territory Bürgeln sat, introduced the Reformation, releasing the local communities from the control of the Catholic monastery and its Bürgeln Provost.
In 1689, during the War of the Spanish Succession, the property was severely damaged, and between 1692 and 1698 was left uninhabited. There were several attempts to restore it, but in 1762 the former structures were demolished down to the foundations, and over the next two years Bürgeln was rebuilt as a 'Schloss' - equivalent to an English stately home - designed to represent Catholic power in the midst of a Protestant stronghold.
At the beginning of the 19th century, with revolutionary France ascendant and the Austrian rulers of the Catholic Holy Roman Empire defeated, imperial possessions were secularised. Initial attempts in 1803 to transfer St. Blasien to the Catholic Order of Malta based in Heitersheim were resisted, but following further Austrian defeats at Ulm and Austerlitz in 1805, large swathes of Austrian Breisgau were transferred over to the Electorate of Baden.
In 1809 Bürgeln was sold into private ownership. By 1926 Bürgeln had come into the possession of Richard Sichler who renovated the property, adding the terrace on the west side. After his death in 1952, his widow stayed on at the house until 1957, when it was sold to the current owners, the Schloss Bürgeln Association, though the sale did not include the contents, which were sold off separately.
Today the house, authentically refurnished, with a restaurant on site and set in small but beautifully laid out gardens.References:
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.
Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.
In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.
The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.
In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.
After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.
In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.
Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.
In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.
In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.