Laufen Castle is a castle in the municipality of Laufen-Uhwiesen in the Swiss canton of Zurich. It is a Swiss heritage site of national significance overlooking the Rhine Falls.
The first documented reference to the castle dates to the year 858 when it was the home of the Barons of Laufen. It passed through several owners until the Old Zürich War (1439-1450) when the castle was acquired by the Fulach family, from whom the city of Zurich bought the castle in 1544. Following the Helvetic Republic (1798–1803) the castle was once again in private ownership, with the city of Zurich reacquiring the castle by buying it again in 1941.
The castle now serves as a tourist attraction, and contains a restaurant and a youth hostel. Between 2009 and 2010 a project was undertaken to restore and expand the facilities, including a visitors’ centre situated in the former staff quarters, an exhibition in the northern part of the castle, and a wheelchair-accessible circular walkway with glass lift between castle and river levels. Laufen is overlooking Wörth Castle, on the opposite side of the Rhein river, in the Canton of Schaffhausen.
The Rheinfall railway line passes through a tunnel under the castle, halting at the Schloss Laufen am Rheinfall station to the south of the tunnel and beneath the castle walls. The station is linked to the castle by a walkway.References:
Medvedgrad is a medieval fortified town located on the south slopes of Medvednica mountain, approximately halfway from the Croatian capital Zagreb to the mountain top Sljeme. For defensive purposes it was built on a hill, Mali Plazur, that is a spur of the main ridge of the mountain that overlooks the city. On a clear day the castle can be seen from far away, especially the high main tower. Below the main tower of the castle is Oltar Domovine (Altar of the homeland) which is dedicated to Croatian soldiers killed in the Croatian War of Independence.
In 1242, Mongols invaded Zagreb. The city was destroyed and burned to the ground. This prompted the building of Medvedgrad. Encouraged by Pope Innocent IV, Philip Türje, bishop of Zagreb, built the fortress between 1249 and 1254. It was later owned by bans of Slavonia. Notable Croatian and Hungarian poet and ban of Slavonia Janus Pannonius (Ivan Česmički) died in the Medvedgrad castle on March 27, 1472.
The last Medvedgrad owners and inhabitants was the Gregorijanec family, who gained possession of Medvedgrad in 1562. In 1574, the walls of Medvedgrad were reinforced, but after the 1590 Neulengbach earthquake, the fortress was heavily damaged and ultimately abandoned. It remained in ruins until the late 20th century, when it was partly restored and now offers a panoramic view of the city from an altitude of over 500 meters.