Altenburg Castle

Brugg, Switzerland

The exact date of Altenburg Castle construction is unknown, however the traditional date given is during the reign of Valentinian I or around 370. The discovery of several small coin hoards near the ruins may indicate a construction date as early as the beginning of the 4th century AD.

The castle was built on a point above the Aar river as part of the Limes Germanicus to protect an easily fordable stretch of the river. The walls were 3–5 m thick and protected by six or eight half-round towers. Nothing is known about the number, location or purposes of the interior buildings.

The Schlössli was built in the ruins of the Roman castle during the late 10th century, probably for an ancestor of the famous Habsburg family. It remained the seat of that family until the construction of Habsburg Castlein the 11th century. After that time it became the seat of Habsburg bailiffs or knights. In 1397 the castle, village and the rest of the Habsburg Eigenamt were gifted to Königsfelden Monastery in Windisch.

On 16 November 1414, Emperor Sigismund called the Council of Constance to settle the Western Schism between the three popes (Benedict XIII, Gregory XII, and John XXIII), all of whom claimed legitimacy. Frederick IV of Habsburg sided with John XXIII. When John XXIII was declared an antipope, he fled the city with Frederick's help. The emperor then declared the Habsburg lands forfeited and ordered the neighboring countries to conquer those lands for the emperor. The city-state of Bern had already pledged their support of the emperor against the Habsburgs in 1414, and so they were ready to invade. Following a series of Confederation victories, in 1415 much of the Eigenamt including Altenburg was in Bernese hands. After Bern assumed control, the monastery retained most of their rights to the land and castles.

In 1528 Bern adopted the new faith of the Protestant Reformation and quickly seized and secularized all of the lands of the religious houses. Under Bernese rule, the castle remained a minor manor house tucked away in the country. During the 16th century a late Gothictower house topped with crow-stepped gables was added. In 1941 it was converted into a youth hostel, which it remains today.



Your name


Im Hof 11, Brugg, Switzerland
See all sites in Brugg


Founded: 10th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Switzerland

More Information


4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Yvan Berthouzoz (2 years ago)
Le Top, cadre historique, accueil super, repas et petit déjeuner, topissime..♥️♥️♥️
Rahel Ochsner (2 years ago)
Clean, friendly and very accommodating! We'd love to come back.
Mirjam Trottmann (2 years ago)
Beautiful old castle, great location with a large lawn and covered patio, greenery and river. Swimming pool and adventure playground in the immediate vicinity. Very friendly and hardworking hostess. Delicious dinner and great breakfast. Our kids 4 and 5 loved it at the castle and definitely want to go back.
Herr Lich (2 years ago)
Great location, great old building and very warm staff who are extremely helpful in running the hostel. Only the mass shock could do with 1-2 sockets more. Otherwise everything was great, especially the breakfast.
Ivan Pilet (3 years ago)
Historic and charming place, beautiful garden next to the Aare, outdoor covered square, fountain. The dormitories are pleasant, shower and toilet practical, the staff are welcoming and available to help. Lunch was also provided and very good.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Doune Castle

Doune Castle was originally built in the thirteenth century, then probably damaged in the Scottish Wars of Independence, before being rebuilt in its present form in the late 14th century by Robert Stewart, Duke of Albany (c. 1340–1420), the son of King Robert II of Scots, and Regent of Scotland from 1388 until his death. Duke Robert"s stronghold has survived relatively unchanged and complete, and the whole castle was traditionally thought of as the result of a single period of construction at this time. The castle passed to the crown in 1425, when Albany"s son was executed, and was used as a royal hunting lodge and dower house.

In the later 16th century, Doune became the property of the Earls of Moray. The castle saw military action during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms and Glencairn"s rising in the mid-17th century, and during the Jacobite risings of the late 17th century and 18th century.