In 955 Emperor Otto I granted his estates in Zizers to the Bishop of Chur. Friedau Castle may have been built on the site of one of the buildings from this 10th century grant. Construction on the castle begun under Bishop Volkart von Neuenburg (1237-1251) but was completed under Heinrich IV von Montfort (1251-1272). Once it was completed it became the administrative center of the Herrschaft and the home of the bishop's landvogt.
Because the bishop often needed loans and donations, he used the castle as collateral for loans or as a reward for donations. In 1358 it was given as collateral to Beringers von Landenberg and four years later, in 1362, Bishop Peter Gelyto gave it to Kunigunde von Toggenburg. The Toggenburgs held the castle until the death of Frederick VII in 1436 and the extinction of the Toggenburg family. It appears that the castle had already fallen into ruin by 1387 and the bishop was just granting the rights to the lands and taxes associated with the castle. With those rights, the bishop included a clause that if the castle was rebuilt, the lands would return to him.
The castle must have been rebuilt sometime after the extinction of the Toggenburgs, because in 1503 there was once again a vogt at Friedau. In 1550 the chronicler Ulrich Campell recorded that the castle was a tower surrounded by a wall and moat. In 1649 the bishop sold the castle to the Vier Dörfer. From then on the castle was used as a prison and gradually became known as the Schelmenturm. In 1880 the tower was heavily damaged in a fire which destroyed much of Zizers. The heat was so intense that the stones in the wall cracked and two large rents opened up in the tower.
During an archeological excavation of the tower in 2016 several finger and foot bones as well as a leg bone were discovered. Initial speculation was that the bones came from tortured prisoners. However, Carbon-14 dating found that the bones dated from before the tower was built in the 13th century.
The castle is located in the center of Zizers. It is a square tower about 11.5 by 11.5 meters and has walls that are up to 2.3 m thick. It was originally four stories tall with a high entrance on the second story east side. Following the 1880 fire two large cracks have opened up in the walls.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.