The Wörth water castle is built on a small island in the Rhine river at the municipality of Neuhausen am Rheinfall, opposite of the Laufen Castle in the canton of Zürich.

Wörth was first mentioned in the 13th century, serving up to the middle of the 19th century as a major transhipment point on the east-west trade route, that led from Lake Constance and Basel, and was interrupted by the Rheinfall waterfalls.

The present castle was built in 1348 AD, according to the excavations by the archaeological team in 2004. Like the predecessor building, which was built in the mid-11th century as Burg im Fischerhölzli, it served as a customs house and secured the area. Earliest owner of the Habsurg fief were the Herren von Jestetten, followed by the Schultheiss of Randenburg (1291) and the Herren von Fulach (1422), and in 1429 by the Kloster Allerheiligen Schaffhausen.

In the late 1790s, a so-called Gertzler was the custodian of the then Schlösschen Wörth. It was given as a so-called 'Schupf-Lehn' (fief) by the Kloster Allerheiligen Schaffhausen along with the salmon fisheries, customs, vineyard, forest etc. The Gertzler moved the customs for the monastery and had to deliver 2/3 of the salmon catch. For subsistence, he was allowed to fell timber out of the forest, and had to pay a lease of 30 thaler per year for the use of the vineyard and the fields. The term 'Schlupf-Lehn' derives from the Swiss German word for 'slide out', as the feudal hereditary could be revoked if the administrator did not meet its obligations to the monastery.

When the railway was built, the water traffic route lost its importance, and the Canton of Schaffhausen rebuilt the building as a restaurant in 1835/36. The former customs station and Salmon farming was converted in the restaurant that was opened in 1837.

 A bridge was leading from the righthand shore of the Rhine river into the ring the walled courtyard. On the north side a palace-like building was built, whose third floor consisted of a cantilevered clerestory timbered. In 1621 a stone floor replaced the clerestory. New floors were added, new windows broken, and the ring wall and gate was broken. As of today it houses the restaurant Schlössli Wörth that claims to be a gourmet restaurant, and also a gift shop and a fast food joint, connected with a terrace and a brilliant view of Rheinfall. Wörth is also the starting point of the Rheinfall tour boats.

References:

Comments

Your name



User Reviews

Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.