Right at the top of the Wartenberg near Muttenz there are three castle ruins which can be visited. Archaeological findings prove that it was already in use during the New Stone Age (around 2000 BC). During the Bronze Age (1800-800 BC) a fortified settlement stood here.
Presumably the Burgundians built a king’s castle on the northernmost spur in the 10th century. Today the front Wartenberg is situated here. It had been built during the early middle ages and is the largest and most important complex. During the late middle ages, the Strassburg diocese handed over the castle to the Homburg line of the Count of Frohburg. In 1301, together with the middle Wartenberg, it became the property of the wealthy Basel family zer Sunnen. Later the counts of Habsburg-Laufenburg obtained the feudal rights over the front castle.
The members of the Homberg dynasty are believed to be behind the construction of the of the middle and rear Wartenberg. The former was built in the late 12th century, the latter probably later in the 13th century.
The middle castle was first mentioned in a document when it came into the hands of the “zer Sunnen” family, together with the front castle. Later, their relatives, the Münch family from Münchenstein, obtained the feudal rights over the castle complex. In 1515, the city of Basel bought for the front and the middle Wartenberg.
The rear castle is first mentioned in a document in 1306 when the Homberg family decided to sell this castle to the members of the house of Habsburg-Laufenburg. In later times, the feudal rights over the castle were in the hands of the house of Eptingen-Madeln, the Sevogel family in Basel, and a few others. Since 1856, the whole castle complex officially belongs to the civil community of Muttenz.References:
Bergenhus fortress is one of the oldest and best preserved castles in Norway. It contains buildings dating as far back as the 1240s, as well as later constructions built as recently as World War II. The extent of the enclosed area of today dates from the early 19th century. In medieval times, the area of the present-day Bergenhus Fortress was known as Holmen (The islet), and contained the royal residence in Bergen, as well as a cathedral and several churches, the bishop's residence, and a Dominican monastery. Excavations have revealed foundations of buildings believed to date back to before 1100, which might have been erected by King Olav Kyrre. In the 13th century, until 1299, Bergen was the capital of Norway and Holmen was thus the main seat of Norway's rulers. It was first enclosed by stone walls in the 1240s.
Of the medieval buildings, a medieval hall and a defensive tower remain. The royal hall, today known as Haakon's Hall, built around 1260, is the largest medieval secular building in Norway. The defensive tower, known in the Middle Ages as the keep by the sea, was built around 1270 by King Magnus VI Lagabøte, and contained a royal apartment on the top floor. In the 1560s it was incorporated by the commander of the castle, Erik Rosenkrantz, into a larger structure, which is today known as the Rosenkrantz Tower.
In the Middle Ages, several churches, including the Christ Church, Bergen's cathedral, were situated on the premises. These however were torn down in the period 1526 to 1531, as the area of Holmen was converted into a purely military fortification under Danish rule. From around this time, the name Bergenhus came into use. Building work on the Christ Church probably started around 1100. It contained the shrine of saint Sunniva, the patron saint of Bergen and western Norway. In the 12th and 13th centuries it was the site of several royal coronations and weddings. It was also the burial site of at least six kings, as well as other members of the royal family. The site of its altar is today marked by a memorial stone.
In the 19th century, the fortress lost its function as a defensive fortification, but it was retained by the military as an administrative base. After restoration in the 1890s, and again after destruction sustained during World War II, Bergenhus is today again used as a feast hall for public events. During World War II, the German navy used several of its buildings for their headquarters, and they also constructed a large concrete bunker within the fortress walls. The buildings, including the Haakon's Hall, were severely damaged when a Dutch ship in the service of the German navy, carrying approximately 120 tons of dynamite, exploded on 20 April 1944 in the harbour just outside the fortress walls, but the buildings were later restored.
Bergenhus is currently under the command of the Royal Norwegian Navy, which has about 150 military personnel stationed there. The fortifications Sverresborg fortress and Fredriksberg fortress also lie in the centre of Bergen. Haakon's Hall and the Rosenkrantz Tower are open for visits by the public. Koengen, the central part of Bergenhus Fortress is also known as a concert venue.