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:
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.
Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.
In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.