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:
Augustusburg Palace represents one of the first examples of Rococo creations in Germany. For the Cologne elector and archbishop Clemens August of the House of Wittelsbach it was the favourite residence. In 1725 the Westphalian architect Johann Conrad Schlaun was commissioned by Clemens August to begin the construction of the palace on the ruins of a medieval moated castle.
In 1728, the Bavarian court architect François de Cuvilliés took over and made the palace into one of the most glorious residences of its time. Until its completion in 1768, numerous outstanding artists of European renown contributed to its beauty. A prime example of the calibre of artists employed here is Balthasar Neumann, who created the design for the magnificent staircase, an enchanting creation full of dynamism and elegance. The magical interplay of architecture, sculpture, painting and garden design made the Brühl Palaces a masterpiece of German Rococo.
UNESCO honoured history and present of the Rococo Palaces by inscribing Augustusburg Palace – together with Falkenlust Palace and their extensive gardens – on the World Heritage List in 1984. From 1949 onwards, Augustusburg Palace was used for representative purposes by the German Federal President and the Federal Government for many decades.
In 1728, Dominique Girard designed the palace gardens according to French models. Owing to constant renovation and care, it is today one of the most authentic examples of 18th century garden design in Europe. Next to the Baroque gardens, Peter Joseph Lenné redesigned the forested areas based on English landscaping models. Today it is a wonderful place to have a walk.