Uster Castle was built probably around 1200 by the House of Rapperswil. After the Appenzell wars Hans von Bonstetten concluded a pact with Zürich, and became a citizen of the city of Zürich respectively claimed the so-called Burgrecht in 1407. From that moment, the castle in time of war could be strengthened by a Zürich garrison. As an Austrian vassal, Zürich guaranteed a neutral status to the Bonstetten family, particularly during the Old Zürich War when the neighbouring town of Greifensee was besieged and destroyed by Old Swiss Confederacy marauders; the bodies of the defenders were buried at the Uster church.
In 1492 a fire destroyed the castle. The owners changed the following centuries many times. In 1852 the castle became the seat of the district administration, and the tower was used as a prison. In the same year the castle was rebuilt, again, and a restaurant opened. Since 1995 the castle houses the private boarding school, and the former restaurant Burg was rebuilt in a steakhouse in 2009.
From the first construction phase, the lower section of the tower, up to the level of the upper floor of the today's boarding school's building around the tower base, is preserved, but never was scientifically examined, as well as the surrounding area of the plateau. The core of the present tower measures about 11 metres.References:
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.