Haldenstein Castle was probably built in the 10th or 11th century as the family castle of the Ministerialis Haldenstein family, who were in service of the Lord of Vaz. By the 12th century the family had split into two lines, the Haldenstein family and the Lichtenstein family (who inhabited the nearby Lichtenstein Castle. Each family ruled over part of the nearby village and farms. By the end of the 13th century the Lichtenstein family died out and their lands and castle were inherited by the Haldensteins. In 1299 Johann von Vaz and the Bishop of Churquarreled over an unauthorized expansion of Haldenstein Castle. By the 14th century the Lord of Haldenstein was in the service of the Bishop. In 1362 Ulrich von Haldenstein was a soldier in Habsburg service, though in 1379 he was again in the service of the Bishop of Chur.
The Haldenstein family died out around the end of the 14th century. At this point the castle passed through a number of owners. In 1542 the widow of Jacques von Marmels married a French minister named Johann Jacob von Castion and he became the owner of Haldenstein. He quickly moved from the cramped and inconvenient castle down into Haldenstein and built the new Haldenstein Castle near the town. The old castle became known as Alt(Old)-Haldenstein. The old castle was sold to Gregor von Hohenbalken, the Lord of Aspermont, in 1567. In 1608 it was sold to the Scheuenstein family and later the Salis-Maienfelds occupied the castle. It was damaged in an earthquake in 1769 and again in 1787 and it was abandoned in the following years.
The castle was built on a small rocky outcropping above the valley below the Calanda massif. Due to the small size of the outcropping, the castle site is compact without outbuildings or curtain walls. Over the centuries the tower's height increased in several stages as the owners expanded in the only direction they could, upward. Several building phases can still be seen in the remaining tower walls.
The castle site can only be reached by following a narrow and steep trail along the mountain to the castle outcropping.References:
Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.
Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.
Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.
The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.
During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.
The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.
From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.
The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.
Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.