Kyburg Castle overlooks the Töss river some 3 km south-east of Winterthur. The first fortification at this site was likely built in the second half of the 10th century by the counts of Winterthur. It is first mentioned in 1027 under the name of Chuigeburg ('cows-fort'), which name points to an original use as a refuge castle for livestock.
The early castle was destroyed in 1028 or 1030 by emperor Conrad II. It was rebuilt and soon became the center of the county of Kyburg which was formed in 1053 as a possession of the counts of Dillingen. In 1079, during the Investiture Controversy, the castle was attacked and partially destroyed by Abbot Ulrich II of St. Gall. By 1096 the counts of Dillingen included count of Kyburg as one of their titles. By 1180, the counts of Kyburg emerged as a cadet line of the Dillingen family. They rose to be the most important noble family in the Swiss plateau beside the Habsburg and the House of Savoy by the 13th century.
After the death of the last count in 1264 Rudolph of Habsburg claimed the inheritance for his family. With one interruption the Imperial Regalia of the Holy Roman Empire were kept in the castle between 1273 and 1322.
The core of the extant castle originates in the 13th century, with the addition of substantial parts in the course of the 13th and 14th centuries. It is among the largest surviving medieval castle complexes in Switzerland, consisting of a bergfried and palas with additional residential and economic buildings and a chapel, all connected by a ring wall enclosing a large courtyard.
In the 1424 the city of Zürich bought the county, and the castle became the seat of the reeve. The dilapidated castle was substantially renovated at this time. The chapel has substantial late Gothic frescoes commissioned by Zürich. Substantial changes to the structure were made under reeve Hans Rudolf Lavater during 1527/8. Further changes were made to the structure in the early modern period.
The castle was plundered by the local populace in 1798, but it was again used as administrative seat from 1803 until 1831, when it was sold by auctio to one Franz Heinrich Hirzel of Winterthur who intended to use it as a quarry. To prevent its destruction, the castle was bought by the exiled Polish count Alexander Sobansky (1799–1861) in 1835. The Sobansky resided in the castle for the next 30 years. In 1917 the Canton of Zurich bought the castle back, since 1999 a society runs it, the Verein Museum Schloss Kyburg.References:
The Church of Our Lady before Týn is a dominant feature of the Old Town of Prague and has been the main church of this part of the city since the 14th century. The church's towers are 80 m high and topped by four small spires.
In the 11th century, this area was occupied by a Romanesque church, which was built there for foreign merchants coming to the nearby Týn Courtyard. Later it was replaced by an early Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn in 1256. Construction of the present church began in the 14th century in the late Gothic style under the influence of Matthias of Arras and later Peter Parler. By the beginning of the 15th century, construction was almost complete; only the towers, the gable and roof were missing. The church was controlled by Hussites for two centuries, including John of Rokycan, future archbishop of Prague, who became the church's vicar in 1427. The roof was completed in the 1450s, while the gable and northern tower were completed shortly thereafter during the reign of George of Poděbrady (1453–1471). His sculpture was placed on the gable, below a huge golden chalice, the symbol of the Hussites. The southern tower was not completed until 1511, under architect Matěj Rejsek.
After the lost Battle of White Mountain (1620) began the era of harsh recatholicisation (part of the Counter-Reformation). Consequently, the sculptures of 'heretic king' George of Poděbrady and the chalice were removed in 1626 and replaced by a sculpture of the Virgin Mary, with a giant halo made from by melting down the chalice. In 1679 the church was struck by lightning, and the subsequent fire heavily damaged the old vault, which was later replaced by a lower baroque vault.
Renovation works carried out in 1876–1895 were later reversed during extensive exterior renovation works in the years 1973–1995. Interior renovation is still in progress.
The northern portal is a wonderful example of Gothic sculpture from the Parler workshop, with a relief depicting the Crucifixion. The main entrance is located on the church's western face, through a narrow passage between the houses in front of the church.
The early baroque altarpiece has paintings by Karel Škréta from around 1649. The oldest pipe organ in Prague stands inside this church. The organ was built in 1673 by Heinrich Mundt and is one of the most representative 17th-century organs in Europe.