Habsburg Castle near the Aare River was the original seat of the House of Habsburg, which became one of the leading imperial and royal dynasties in Europe. At the time of its construction, the location was part of the Duchy of Swabia.

Around 1020–1030 Count Radbot, of the nearby county of Klettgau in the Duchy of Swabia, had the castle erected. It is believed that he named the castle after a hawk (Habicht) seen sitting on its walls. Radbot's grandson, Otto II, was the first to take the Habsburg Castle name as his own, adding 'von Habsburg' to his title and creating the House of Habsburg.

Habsburg Castle's importance diminished after Radbot's seventh generation descendant Rudolph moved the family's power base to Austria in 1276. Habsburg Castle remained property of the House of Habsburg until 1415, when Duke Frederick IV of Austria lost the canton of Aargau to the Swiss Confederacy.

The original coat of arms to fly over Habsburg Castle, a red lion on a golden field, remained part of the Austrian arms up to the end of the imperial period. The modern arms of the municipality of Habsburg, Switzerland, depict Habsburg Castle.

The area around the castle was covered by forests that were only cleared around 1500, nearly half a millennium after Habsburg Castle was first constructed.

Today the large and small towers of the original castle are preserved, attached to a residential building of the 13th century, while large parts of the complex lie in ruins. The extent of its eastern part is recognizable only by foundation walls. The palatial residence hosts a restaurant and a small exhibition.

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Habsburg, Switzerland
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Founded: 1020-1030
Category: Castles and fortifications in Switzerland

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Nicolas Niklewicz (3 years ago)
Nice historical place where we celebrated a very nice wedding of friends in the Rittersaal!
Matt M (3 years ago)
The castle is nice....but I wasn't served in the restaurant at 11am. Just wanted to have some coffee and enjoy the view but nobody cared to take my order, so I left.
Ruedi Kugler (3 years ago)
Great place, lovely views from the top of the hill and tower.
Frantisek Trgo (3 years ago)
Nice place, but unfortunately it was closed during our visit at winter time (until end of March)
Jeffrey Meyer (3 years ago)
Small castle with nice views. You can play audio recordings that explain the story of the castle in a family friendly way. I couldn't go into the castle because the restaurant was closed.
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The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

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In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.