The original castle on the Marienberg, a hill which was first settled in the late Bronze Age, was probably a small fort built early in the 8th century by the Franconian-Thuringian dukes, together with a church which in 741 became the first church of the Würzburg bishops. From 1200 an unusually large castle was built, which was extended during the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Following the storming of the castle in 1631 by the Swedes, Prince-Bishop Johann Philipp von Schönborn built a circle of massive bastions to protect the Marienberg. In 1945 the fortress was almost completely burned out, and its reconstruction was only completed in 1990.
On the first floor of the Princes' Building Museum (administered by the Bavarian Palace Department), is the Bibra Apartment with valuable furniture, tapestries and paintings, the Princes' Hall with early Gothic arcatures and the large Echtersche family tapestry, as well as a treasury and vestment chamber from the era of the prince-bishops. On the second floor is the Main-Franconian Museum documenting the history of the fortress and town.
The 1,300 m2 Princes' Garden is accessible from the castle courtyard: it was reconstructed in 1937-38 on the basis of plans dating from the early 18th century.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.