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:
Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).
Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.
Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.
An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.
On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".