Hochjuvalt Castle consists of two sections, the upper castle on a rocky spur above the valley and the lower castle along the trade road on the valley floor. The spur created a natural pinch point in the valley, forcing traffic from the Septimer, Splügen and San Bernardino Passes to pass through the customs post in the lower castle. The von Juvalt family first appears in records in 1140 and the castle is first mentioned in 1149. The von Juvalt family were vassals of the Bishop of Chur and had estates from Feldis/Veulden to Scharans. Around 1250 they built Innerjuvalt Castle about 2 km south-east of Hochjuvalt to improve their control over the area.
By the 14th century the castle passed, probably through inheritance, to the Rietberg family. Following the death of the last male heir, Johann von Reitberg, in 1349 the castle was supposed to pass to his relative, the Freiherr von Landenberg. However, the Bishop of Chur claimed Hochjuvalt as well as other Reitberg estates in the region. In 1352 the Bishop forced the Landenbergs to sign away their claims to the castle. Another claimant, the Freiherr of Lumbrein agreed to drop his claims for 250 gulden. Over the following century, the Bishops used the castle and its estates as collateral for loans from a number of wealthy families. In 1451 a war broke out between the residents of the Schams valley and Counts of Werdenberg-Sargans. Several castles in the area were partially destroyed in the war, though it is unknown if Hochjuvalt was one of them. It was last granted to Eberhard Ringg von Baldenstein in 1454, though its condition was not recorded. By 1500 the castle was completely abandoned and around 1550 was described as a ruin.
During World War II the site was reoccupied and fortified. In 1940 guns were emplaced near the old upper castle and tank barriers were added around the lower.
In 2011-12 the castle was reinforced and repaired and a new foot path was added to the upper castle.
The oldest part of the castle is the residence tower high above the valley. Most of three sides of the tower have collapsed, leaving an 'L' shaped five story wall still standing. The castle was surrounded by a ring wall that probably enclosed the entire top of the spur. Today only a few traces of this wall remain. The castle was protected by two ditches on the mountain side of the spur.
The lower castle stretches between the base of the spur and the river banks. There are three doors in the wall, one toward Chur, one toward the Viamala road and one toward the Rhine river. Inside the wall, the only remaining building is a 9 m × 9 m tower in the south-west corner. The foundations of a similar tower are visible in north-west corner.References:
Steinvikholm Castle is an island fortress built between 1525 to 1532 by Norway's last Catholic archbishop, Olav Engelbrektsson. Steinvikholm castle became the most powerful fortification by the time it was built, and it is the largest construction raised in the Norwegian Middle Ages.
The castle occupies about half of the land on the rocky island. The absence of a spring meant that fresh water had to be brought from the mainland. A wooden bridge served as the only way to the island other than boat. Although the castle design was common across Europe in 1525, its medieval design was becoming obsolete because of the improved siege firepower offered by gunpowder and cannons.
The castle was constructed after Olav Engelbrektsson returned from a meeting with the Pope in Rome, presumably in anticipation of impending military-religious conflict. As Archbishop Engelbrektsson's resistance to the encroachment of Danish rule escalated, first with Frederick I of Denmark and his successor Christian III of Denmark, Steinvikholm Castle and Nidarholm Abbey became the Catholic Church's military strongholds in Norway. In April 1537, the Danish-Norwegian Reformation succeeded in driving the archbishop from the castle into exile in Lier in the Netherlands (now in Belgium), where he died on 7 February 1538. At the castle the archbishop left behind St. Olav's shrine and other treasures from Nidaros Cathedral (Trondheim). The original coffin containing St. Olav's body remained at Steinvikholm until it was returned to Nidaros Cathedral in 1564. Since 1568 St. Olav's grave in Nidaros has been unknown.
From the 17th to 19th century, the island was used as a quarry and some of its masonry was sold and removed from the site. This activity was condoned by the Danish-Norwegian authorities as a way of eliminating a monument to the opposition of the Danish–Norwegian Union.
Steinvikholm fort is owned and operated today by The society for the Preservation of Norwegian Ancient Monuments. The island has been the site of the midnight opera which details the life and struggles of the archbishop. The opera is held in August annually. The opera is organized by Steinvikholm Musikkteater since the beginning in 1993.