Berchtesgaden Castle dates from 1102 from the Augustin Collegiate. According to legend, Countess Irmgard von Sulzbach vowed to found the monastery as gratitude for saving her spouse after a serious hunting accident.
Throughout the ages, provosts and canons expanded the complex of buildings. Seen from today, it is a lucky circumstance that never enough money was available for tearing the place down. On the contrary, extensions have always been added in the style of the time. The Romanesque cloister has been built around 1180, followed around 1400 by the two-nave Gothic hall. Around 1500 two Renaissance halls were built on the southern side and the Baroque wing was added in 1725.
During the 14th century, the Augustin collegiate achieved imperial immediacy, which made it direct subordinate to the emperor. The provost became the territorial lord and the monastery premises became his residence. In 1559, the monastery was raised to the status of provostry.
After mediatisation (meaning lifting of the spiritual status) in 1803 and the concomitant end of provostal rule, the Land of Berchtesgaden came for short periods under different rules until, in 1810, it became part of the Kingdom of Bavaria. Since 1818, Berchtesgaden Castle has been used as hunting lodge by the kings of Bavaria. Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria made it his residence and lived in it with his family from 1922 until 1933. The rich furnishing of the castle with works of art is due to him. To these days, the head of the House of Wittelsbach, Duke Franz of Bavaria, uses the castle as summer residence.
Many different style eras have set their stamp on Berchtesgaden Royal Castle: from Romanesque to Gothic and Baroque, right on to Rococo. Throughout the ages, at has been expanded and modified again and again. The cloister and its late Romanesque sculptures are evidence of the castle’s origins in the High Middle Ages. After 1818, the erstwhile monastery was used by the Wittelsbachs as hunting lodge. Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria (1869-1955) lived here with his family from 1922 until 1933 and used many rooms for exhibiting items from the art collection of the Wittelsbachs. They include two retables by Tilman Riemenschneider of Rothenburg ob der Tauber and also valuable hunting weapons and trophies as well as, at 18 kilogrammes, the heaviest antlers of Bavaria. Precious furniture, exquisite porcelain and paintings by major artists, especially from the 'Munich School', make it all complete. The view from the Upper Rode Garden over the Watzmann is considered to be the most splendid in the entire valley.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.