Vorau Priory was founded in 1163 by Margrave Ottokar III. The monastery quickly became an religious and cultural center of Eastern Styria, but it was badly damaged by fires in 1237 and 1384. Vorau was located on the border to Hungary and therefore repeatedly faced military threats. The monastery was fortified and armed in the 1450s to defend the local population. The monastery was rebuilt into the Baroque style in 17th and 18th centuries. The fortifications were demolished and moat filled in 1844.
Vorau monastery was again damaged by fire in 1945 during the World War II. Today it is a conference center and parish church. There is also a notable library containing 40 000 volumes, including 415 manuscripts.
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.