Yverdon-les-Bains Castle

Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland

The imposing main walls and their four towers of Yverdon-les-Bains castle follow the geometric characteristics used for lowland castles. It was planned out between 1260-1270 by the young mason and architect James of St. George. He would later travel to England where he would become the master castle builder for King Edward I. James would be responsible for building a series of castles (known as the 'Iron Ring') in North Wales following its conquest by the English Crown.

Yverdon's castle used to be the residence of the castellans of the Savoy dynasty, until 1536, followed by the bailiffs of Bern state. In 1798, the Département du Léman became the castle's owner. The Département had been set up by the short-lived Helvetic Republic (1798–1803), imposed by Napoleon I.

A few years later, Yverdon acquired the castle, to entrust it to Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi and his institute. After 1838, the castle housed a public school. New classrooms were created, especially on the second floor: dividing walls were erected, additional windows changed the severe look of the castle's façade. After 1950, these classrooms were gradually abandoned; the last classes left in 1974. The original medieval structure was then restored. The castle is today a multi-purpose cultural centre, housing a regional museum, a theatre, various conference rooms and the oldest public library of French-speaking Switzerland, founded already in 1763. The library is now part of the castle museum, existing since 1830.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 1260-1270
Category: Castles and fortifications in Switzerland

Rating

4.3/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Lennert Onkelinx (10 months ago)
Medieval castle
HD English Fun Nanny Funny (15 months ago)
Medieval castle with exhibition space inside. We visited it during Alternatyv festival and we had a blast. The cellars have stone walls and you can really imagine the life they havr witnessed 500 years ago. The castle is placed within the pedestrian area of this charming town of Yverdon les Bains and worth a visit.
Boris Legradic (19 months ago)
Excellent history museum, worth a visit! Many models bring the past to life, and the castle itself is as impressive on the inside as on the exterior.
Till Frey (20 months ago)
Good food, nice location, friendly service
Dhimiter Caushi (2 years ago)
Nice place
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Bergenhus Fortress

Bergenhus fortress is one of the oldest and best preserved castles in Norway. It contains buildings dating as far back as the 1240s, as well as later constructions built as recently as World War II. The extent of the enclosed area of today dates from the early 19th century. In medieval times, the area of the present-day Bergenhus Fortress was known as Holmen (The islet), and contained the royal residence in Bergen, as well as a cathedral and several churches, the bishop's residence, and a Dominican monastery. Excavations have revealed foundations of buildings believed to date back to before 1100, which might have been erected by King Olav Kyrre. In the 13th century, until 1299, Bergen was the capital of Norway and Holmen was thus the main seat of Norway's rulers. It was first enclosed by stone walls in the 1240s.

Of the medieval buildings, a medieval hall and a defensive tower remain. The royal hall, today known as Haakon's Hall, built around 1260, is the largest medieval secular building in Norway. The defensive tower, known in the Middle Ages as the keep by the sea, was built around 1270 by King Magnus VI Lagabøte, and contained a royal apartment on the top floor. In the 1560s it was incorporated by the commander of the castle, Erik Rosenkrantz, into a larger structure, which is today known as the Rosenkrantz Tower.

In the Middle Ages, several churches, including the Christ Church, Bergen's cathedral, were situated on the premises. These however were torn down in the period 1526 to 1531, as the area of Holmen was converted into a purely military fortification under Danish rule. From around this time, the name Bergenhus came into use. Building work on the Christ Church probably started around 1100. It contained the shrine of saint Sunniva, the patron saint of Bergen and western Norway. In the 12th and 13th centuries it was the site of several royal coronations and weddings. It was also the burial site of at least six kings, as well as other members of the royal family. The site of its altar is today marked by a memorial stone.

In the 19th century, the fortress lost its function as a defensive fortification, but it was retained by the military as an administrative base. After restoration in the 1890s, and again after destruction sustained during World War II, Bergenhus is today again used as a feast hall for public events. During World War II, the German navy used several of its buildings for their headquarters, and they also constructed a large concrete bunker within the fortress walls. The buildings, including the Haakon's Hall, were severely damaged when a Dutch ship in the service of the German navy, carrying approximately 120 tons of dynamite, exploded on 20 April 1944 in the harbour just outside the fortress walls, but the buildings were later restored.

Bergenhus is currently under the command of the Royal Norwegian Navy, which has about 150 military personnel stationed there. The fortifications Sverresborg fortress and Fredriksberg fortress also lie in the centre of Bergen. Haakon's Hall and the Rosenkrantz Tower are open for visits by the public. Koengen, the central part of Bergenhus Fortress is also known as a concert venue.