Altenburg castle is perched on top of Bamberg's highest hill and is one of Bamberg's major landmarks. The castle was first mentioned in 1109 and was used at this time as a refuge. In the 14th and 15th centuries it served as a richly furnished residence for Bamberg's bishops, but was almost completely destroyed in 1553 by margrave Alfred Alcibiades von Brandenburg-Kulmbach in the second margrave war.
The only remains of the medieval construction are the 33 metre keep from the 13th century and parts of the surrounding wall. An iron basket hangs from the upper section of the tower which was used to send fire signals to Giechburg castle near Scheßlitz, 20km away.
In the Romance period, Altenburg was rebuilt. E.T.A. Hoffmann retreated to one of the wall towers in 1812, to which the 'Hoffmannsklause' restaurant in the new building of the former palace (1901/02) owes its name. The terrace commands a panoramic view of the episcopal town and the surrounding region.
The restaurant was formed after the takeover by the 'Altenburg club'. The premises were located as it is today in the cultivation of the gatehouse. The kitchen, a vaulted room was built in 1834. In the last quarter of the 19th Century the premises has been newly decorated. Lippel family took over the restaurant in 1972.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.