Birseck Castle is also called Vordere Burg Birseck and is one of four castles on a slope called Birseck that confines the plain of the Birs river. Burg Reichenstein sits on a higher slope to the north.

The origins of the castle probably date back to the age of Counts of Frohburg in the 12th century. Bishop Lüthold of Basel bought the castle hill from the Niedermünster monastery in 1239 and built the present castle in 1243/44.

In the 15th and 17th centuries Birseck was expanded. It served during the Counter-Reformation as a residence for Bishop Christoph Blarer (around 1600). In the middle of the 18th century, a stone bridge replaced the drawbridge.

In the 18th century, the castle was poorly maintained. In 1763 , Karl von Andlau moved his county seat from the castle down to the village. During the French Revolution in 1793, some parts of the English garden, the Ermitage and the building of the castle were set on fire or destroyed by drunken peasants. In 1808, Conrad von Andlau and Canon Heinrich von Ligerz acquired the ruins. The tower and the chapel were restored to their original state in the neo-Gothic style.

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Founded: 1243-1244
Category: Castles and fortifications in Switzerland

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User Reviews

Siddharth Mohan (2 years ago)
Built around 1200, this charming 800 year old castle had it's own piece of action when it was almost destroyed by Villagers in 1793 and used as a quarry. In 1808, the castle was renovated and remodeled as a beautiful romantic English Garden. The ruins are accessible and maintained by Foundation Ermitage Arlesheim.
Christiaan Kelder (3 years ago)
Me and my family loved our visit there yesterday. It is a very beautifull place!
Siddharth Mohan (3 years ago)
Built around 1200, this charming 800 year old castle had it's own piece of action when it was almost destroyed by Villagers in 1793 and used as a quarry. In 1808, the castle was renovated and remodeled as a beautiful romantic English Garden. The ruins are accessible and maintained by Foundation Ermitage Arlesheim.
Michał Modliński (5 years ago)
Great castle. Nice views.
Matthew McCarthy (6 years ago)
Very charming area with plenty of nature. Unfortunately, the castle is only open from May-October.
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