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 castle of La Iruela, small but astonishing, is located on the top of a steep crag in Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park. From the castle, impressive views of the surrounding area and of the town can be enjoyed.
The keep dates from the Christian era. It has a square base and small dimensions and is located at the highest part of the crag.
There are some other enclosures within the tower that create a small alcázar which is difficult to access.
In a lower area of the castle, protected with defensive remains of rammed earth and irregular masonry, is an old Muslim farmstead.
After a recent restoration, an open-air theater has been built on La Iruela castle enclosure. This theater is a tribute to the Greek and Classic Eras and holds various artistic and cultural shows throughout the year.
The first traces of human activity in La Iruela area are dated from the Copper Age. An intense occupation continued until the Bronze Age.
Originally, La Iruela (like Cazorla) was a modest farmstead. From the 11th century, a wall and a small fortress were built on the hill to protect the farmers.
Around 1231, don Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada, Archbishop of Toledo, conquered La Iruela and made it part of the Adelantamiento de Cazorla. Over the Muslim fortress, the current fortress was built.
Once the military use of the fortress ended, it was used as cemetery.