Lenzburg Castle ranks among the oldest and most important of Switzerland. The castle stands on the almost circular castle hill, which rises approximately 100 m the surrounding plain.
The prominent hill was already a settlement site in prehistoric times. For example, in 1959 a Neolithic gravesite was uncovered in the carpark. There have also been small discoveries from the Roman and Alemannic eras.
The oldest parts of the castle date to the 11th century, when the Counts of Lenzburg built it as their seat. The Palas (residence of the Count) was built in 1100 as a 4-storey, 18 m high fortified building. Together with the adjacent tower, it is one of the oldest buildings in the castle complex. In about 1230 Lenzburg castle came by marriage into the possession of the Counts of Kyburg. They then founded a fortified market settlement at the western base of the castle hill, today's town of Lenzburg.
In 1509–10, extensive work was carried out at the castle, including partial demolition and rebuilding of the unfinished Knights' Hall. In 1518 there was a serious fire. In 1520 the Landvogt received a new residence, the Landvogtei. During the Second war of Kappel in 1531, the castle served as base of operations for the Protestants.
In 1624 Landvogt Joseph Plepp drew the first precise drawings and plans of the castle, which at the time had more the appearance of a fortified farmhouse. His plans formed the basis for plans to expand it into a fortress. As the first step, in 1625 a double curtain wall and double gatehouse were constructed in a new position in the north section and the height of the earthen embankments on the east and south sides was increased. From 1642 to 1646, a wall eleven metres high was raised to form the east bastion.
During the 18th century, the Bernese developed the castle into a large grain store. For this purpose, the individual buildings were connected and partially hollowed out.
The Aargau Museum includes has a collection of approximately 40,000 historic artefacts, assembled from various sources: cantonal property, private collections bequeathed to the canton, public collections, purchases, and gifts.
Today, Lenzburg Castle offers a wide range of cultural events and activities as well as exhibitions of Aargau Museum.References:
Medvedgrad is a medieval fortified town located on the south slopes of Medvednica mountain, approximately halfway from the Croatian capital Zagreb to the mountain top Sljeme. For defensive purposes it was built on a hill, Mali Plazur, that is a spur of the main ridge of the mountain that overlooks the city. On a clear day the castle can be seen from far away, especially the high main tower. Below the main tower of the castle is Oltar Domovine (Altar of the homeland) which is dedicated to Croatian soldiers killed in the Croatian War of Independence.
In 1242, Mongols invaded Zagreb. The city was destroyed and burned to the ground. This prompted the building of Medvedgrad. Encouraged by Pope Innocent IV, Philip Türje, bishop of Zagreb, built the fortress between 1249 and 1254. It was later owned by bans of Slavonia. Notable Croatian and Hungarian poet and ban of Slavonia Janus Pannonius (Ivan Česmički) died in the Medvedgrad castle on March 27, 1472.
The last Medvedgrad owners and inhabitants was the Gregorijanec family, who gained possession of Medvedgrad in 1562. In 1574, the walls of Medvedgrad were reinforced, but after the 1590 Neulengbach earthquake, the fortress was heavily damaged and ultimately abandoned. It remained in ruins until the late 20th century, when it was partly restored and now offers a panoramic view of the city from an altitude of over 500 meters.