Beginning in 982 the Sargans region was part of the lands of the Counts of Bregenz. In 1160, the male line of the Counts of Bregenz died out. Count palatine Hugo of Türbingen inherited most of their lands, through his wife Elisabeth. His son, Hugo, inherited the Bregenz lands around Lake Constance, including Sargans. This Hugo, who adopted the name Montfort und Werdenberg built or expanded Sargans Castle before his death in 1228. Excavations around the oldest part of the castle show that there was an earlier fort or castle, but nothing is known about that building. Hugo built the large bergfried, expanded the walls to the west and may have built a palas on that side of the castle.
In the mid-13th century the Montfort und Werdenberg lands were divided between Hugo of Werdenberg-Heiligenberg and his brother Hartmann of Werdenberg-Sargans. Hartmann took up residence in the castle and probably expanded the palas. The castle was first mentioned in 1282. Over the following century the wealth and lands of the Counts of Werdenberg-Sargans were divided over and over again between descendants. By the last 14th century, Count Johann I ruled over a small and poor county under the Habsburgs. In the Battle of Näfels in 1388, the count commanded a wing of the Austrian army that was supposed to cross the Kerenzerberg Pass. However, when he saw the threatened destruction of the main Austrian army, he fled back over the pass. The cost of the war, as well as other expenses forced Johann I to sell the castle and village to Leopold of Austria.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.