Birseck Castle

Arlesheim, Switzerland

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


4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Rebecca Call (7 months ago)
Beautiful castle grounds with lots to explore near by. Only 4 stars as the buildings were closed due to limited operating hours but we would visit again. Wear good walking shoes and explore behind the castle. There are a few trails and some flowing water behind. On a hot day, the caves on the trails offer respite from the heat.
Manuele G Muraro (13 months ago)
Beautiful view and walk. Park at the bottom of the castle because there is no much parking space above
Rupert17 (2 years ago)
Great castle, romantic landscape at hill above Arlesheim
Martin Schmutz (2 years ago)
Authentic, idyllic, relaxing.
Siddharth Mohan (4 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.
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