The origins of Liebegg castle and the von Liebegg family are unclear, though they were probably a junior line of the von Trostburg family. The first castle was probably built in the 2nd half of the 12th century. About a century later the second castle was built south of the first. The first mention of the family is in 1241 when Burkhard I and Ludwig von Liebegg appear as witnesses in a document. At that time they were unfree knights in the service of the Counts of Kyburg. When the Kyburg line died out, the Habsburgs became the overlord over Liebegg. The Habsburgs granted a half share to the Twing of Liebegg to the von Liebegg family. The other half was given by the Habsburgs to the Lords of Aarburg, who in turn granted it as an under-fief to the von Liebeggs.
In 1415 the city-state of Bern invaded and captured the Aargau region from the Habsburgs. The castle was not attacked and the von Liebegg family retained their lands and castle under the new rulers. However, in 1433 Johann oder Hemmann von Liebegg, the last male heir of the family, died.
The castle and estates were inherited by Petermann von Luternau and his descendants. By the 16th century, they were one of the six most powerful families in Bern. At the height of their power, in 1561/62, Augustin von Luternau demolished the medieval castle, building on its site a late-Gothic residence. Today only traces of the original two castles remain. In 1602 they sold the castle to Marx Escher from the city of Zürich. A few years later, in 1615, he sold it to Reinhard Graviseth. Reinhard built a new castle and residence hall south of the Luternauhaus (Luternau House) in 1617. He owned the castle for about half a century, but in 1668 traded it to his brother in law Johann Friedrich von Breitenlandenberg. Then, in 1709 the Breitenlandenberg's traded Liebegg back to the Graviseth family. In 1772 the von Diesbach family inherited it from the Graviseths. A few decades later the 1798 French invasion and the Helvetic Republic swept away the old medieval system of noble landlords who ruled over villages and estates. While the von Diesbach family retained their castles, they lost their land holdings, including the Twing of Liebegg. In 1875 Friedrich Bernhart von Diesbach sold Liebegg Castle to the wealthy industrialist Guido Hunziker-Zuest from Aarau. His son, Julius Hunziker lived in the castle until his death in 1941. In 1946 the Canton of Aargau bought the castle from his heirs.
The Canton established a cantonal agricultural school in 1958 in the castle outbuildings. Between 1983 and 1998 the castle was home to the cantonal teacher's college. Today the castle is available to host meetings, conferences, weddings, celebrations and other events.
Today there are no visible traces of the medieval castle. The first or old castle stood on the highest point of hilltop, where the late-Gothic Luternauhaus now stands. The south wing of the Luternauhaus was demolished in 19th century when it fell into ruin. The second or new castle was south of the old and is now the site of 1617/18 Baroque residential palace. An earthquake in 1817 collapsed the western wall of the Baroque residential hall. Due to unstable foundations, it was moved back several meters and was rebuilt in the Neoclassic style.References:
Kroměříž stands on the site of an earlier ford across the River Morava. The gardens and castle of Kroměříž are an exceptionally complete and well-preserved example of a European Baroque princely residence and its gardens and described as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The first residence on the site was founded by bishop Stanislas Thurzo in 1497. The building was in a Late Gothic style, with a modicum of Renaissance detail. During the Thirty Years' War, the castle was sacked by the Swedish army (1643).
It was not until 1664 that a bishop from the powerful Liechtenstein family charged architect Filiberto Lucchese with renovating the palace in a Baroque style. The chief monument of Lucchese's work in Kroměříž is the Pleasure Garden in front of the castle. Upon Lucchese's death in 1666, Giovanni Pietro Tencalla completed his work on the formal garden and had the palace rebuilt in a style reminiscent of the Turinese school to which he belonged.
After the castle was gutted by a major fire in March 1752, Bishop Hamilton commissioned two leading imperial artists, Franz Anton Maulbertsch and Josef Stern, arrived at the residence in order to decorate the halls of the palace with their works. In addition to their paintings, the palace still houses an art collection, generally considered the second finest in the country, which includes Titian's last mythological painting, The Flaying of Marsyas. The largest part of the collection was acquired by Bishop Karel in Cologne in 1673. The palace also contains an outstanding musical archive and a library of 33,000 volumes.
UNESCO lists the palace and garden among the World Heritage Sites. As the nomination dossier explains, 'the castle is a good but not outstanding example of a type of aristocratic or princely residence that has survived widely in Europe. The Pleasure Garden, by contrast, is a very rare and largely intact example of a Baroque garden'. Apart from the formal parterres there is also a less formal nineteenth-century English garden, which sustained damage during floods in 1997.
Interiors of the palace were extensively used by Miloš Forman as a stand-in for Vienna's Hofburg Imperial Palace during filming of Amadeus (1984), based on the life of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who actually never visited Kroměříž. The main audience chamber was also used in the film Immortal Beloved (1994), in the piano concerto scene.