Churburg Castle (Castel Coira in Italian) is one of the best preserved castles of South Tyrol. In 1259 this building was mentioned for the first time under the name “Curberch” in a document of the archbishop Heinrich von Monfort, which had the castle built around 1250. However, already in 1297 the castle passed to the Lords of Mazia, which were in constant feud with the prince-bishopric of Chur. At the beginning of the 16th century, after the death of the last representative of the Lords of Mazia, the castle again changed hands and passed on to the Counts of Trapp.
The most ancient nucleus of the Romanesque period is represented by the donjon, the great hall and the circular wall. Up until the 16th century the castle was able to preserve its Mediaeval appearance. Only when it passed into the hands of the Counts of Trapp, substantial renovations and extensions were made. In the course of this period, residential buildings, Zwinger palaces, chapels, bays and garden terraces in gothic style were annexed. Only in the second half of the 16th century the castle was converted into a Renaissance castle.
Today the castle, which has never been destroyed, offers a rich variety of well-furbished rooms. Particularly interesting for those who love arts are the Madonna sculpture, the funeral shields in the castle chapel and the decorated arcades with Renaissance vault made of the typical marble of Lasa in Val Venosta. Moreover Castel Coira offers the largest private armory worldwide, including an almost complete collection of armaments for the entire castle crew with more than 50 suits of armour, thrustings and swords.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.