Either Lütold V von Regensberg or his son Ulrich established the fortified town of (Neu)-Regensberg around 1250. Ulrich died around 1280, and his son Lütold VIII had to sell Regensberg to Habsburg-Austria in 1302. The Habsburgs mortgaged the castle and town several times, and in 1407 the so-called Herrschaft Regensberg was acquired by the city of Zürich. From 1417 the castle became the seat of the bailiff of the bailiwick of Regensberg. On 6 June 1443 the council of Zürich forced their troops and the citizens to defend the fortified town, three days later the castle was conquered during the Old Zürich War by Zürich's contrahents, but not destroyed, and some months later manned again by Zürich troops.
On 9 September 1540 the town, but not the castle, was destroyed by fire, because it was separated from the Oberstadt by a ditch. The upper castle was rebuilt in the following year. From 1689 the castle and the upper town were fortified according to then modern standards. On 13 March 1798 the French revolutionary troops forced the council of the city republic of Zürich to abdicate, and the country bailiwicks were dissolved. After the end of the short-lived Helvetic Republic, Regensberg became the district capital, and the castle was the seat of the cantonal authorities, and in the main building there was the county jail until 1863.
Regensberg was designed as a fortified castle town and built by then modern contemporary criteria. The so-called upper castle (Oberburg) comprises a rectangular plaza as main square which is surrounded two rows of houses, and into the limestone a 57 m (187 ft) deep water well was carved. The lower castle (Unterburg) or lower town (Unterstadt) was probably built in the 14th century nestled at the castle's hill outside of the town wall. Therefore, it was not involved in the modernization of the upper castle in 1689.
Nowadays, the castle belongs to the Regensberg Castle Foundation. The round tower is still open to the public and offers a spectacular panoramic view of the surrounding region. In addition, information panels inside the tower relate the history of the small country town of Regensberg.References:
Augustusburg Palace represents one of the first examples of Rococo creations in Germany. For the Cologne elector and archbishop Clemens August of the House of Wittelsbach it was the favourite residence. In 1725 the Westphalian architect Johann Conrad Schlaun was commissioned by Clemens August to begin the construction of the palace on the ruins of a medieval moated castle.
In 1728, the Bavarian court architect François de Cuvilliés took over and made the palace into one of the most glorious residences of its time. Until its completion in 1768, numerous outstanding artists of European renown contributed to its beauty. A prime example of the calibre of artists employed here is Balthasar Neumann, who created the design for the magnificent staircase, an enchanting creation full of dynamism and elegance. The magical interplay of architecture, sculpture, painting and garden design made the Brühl Palaces a masterpiece of German Rococo.
UNESCO honoured history and present of the Rococo Palaces by inscribing Augustusburg Palace – together with Falkenlust Palace and their extensive gardens – on the World Heritage List in 1984. From 1949 onwards, Augustusburg Palace was used for representative purposes by the German Federal President and the Federal Government for many decades.
In 1728, Dominique Girard designed the palace gardens according to French models. Owing to constant renovation and care, it is today one of the most authentic examples of 18th century garden design in Europe. Next to the Baroque gardens, Peter Joseph Lenné redesigned the forested areas based on English landscaping models. Today it is a wonderful place to have a walk.