Sommeregg is a medieval castle near Seeboden situated in the foothills of the Nock Mountains. The castle was probably erected in the 12th century. The Lords of Sommeregg then served as ministeriales of Count Otto II of Ortenburg, who ruled over extended estates in Upper Carinthia, rivalling with the House of Gorizia and the Salzburg archbishops.
In the 14th century, the Lords of Sommeregg achieved the knightly status of Ortenburg burgraves and castellans with comprehensive administrative and military responsibilities in the lordship of the manor. When the Counts of Ortenburg became extinct in 1418, their possessions passed to the Counts of Celje in Carniola, who left the administration of the remote Upper Carinthian estates to local stadtholders. In 1442 the Styrian noble Andreas von Graben by marriage inherited the Sommeregg burgraviate. His rights were acknowledged by Count Frederick II of Celje and the castle became a residence of the House of Graben.
The dynasty maintained the title of Sommeregg burgraves, even when the last Celje count Ulrich II was murdered in 1456. After a long dispute with Count John II of Gorizia, the former Ortenburg possessions fell to the Habsburg emperor Frederick III, who confirmed the feudal rights of the Graben family. Andreas von Graben was succeeded by his son Virgil in 1463, however, in 1487 the castle was occupied and devastated by Hungarian forces under King Matthias Corvinus on his campaign against the Austrian Habsburgs. Afterwards Virgil von Graben had the fortress rebuilt in its current appearance.
Through Virgil's niece and heiress Rosina (d. 1534), Sommeregg passed to the Bavarian Lords of Rain. In 1550 it was purchased by the Carinthian noble Christoph Khevenhüller, whose descendants held the castle until 1628. The Sommeregg manor was dissolved upon the Revolution of 1848.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.