Welsberg Castle (Castel Monguelfo in Italian) lies in a strategic position above Casies Valley. The castle was built in 1140 by the two brother Schwinkher and Otto von Welsberg. This latest wanted the overhanging upon his lands. For more than 800 years the castle had been property of the von Welsbergs, one of the mightiest families in Tyrol, who obtained the title of Prince of the Holy Roman Empire in 1693 by the emperor Leopold I.
The construction can be divided into two main periods: the first Romanesque one in the XII century, and the second one, in the gothic and Renaissance period in the XVI century. The oldest element of the castle is the tall defensive tower built between 1126 and 1140. Around it the old Romanesque chapel, the residential building, and the other buildings had been built.
In 1765 the castle was destroyed by a fire and the upper floor had to be broken up and the roof brought down to the present height. Since then the castle had been forgotten till recent times when the heir of the Welspergs entrusted it to the Kuratorium Committee which completely restored it and made visits available during summer season.References:
Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.
Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.
Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.
The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.
During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.
The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.
From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.
The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.
Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.