Jörgenberg Castle was built in the 8th century as a fortified church, on lands donated by the Frankish kings. In the 765 testament of Bishop Tello it was referred to as a castellum on Jörgenberg hill. At the beginning of the 9th century it was called ecclesia sancti Georgii in Castello or St. George's Church in a Castle. The current castle and church were probably built on the site of an earlier walled church. The timbers in the bell tower have been dated to 1070. Over the following centuries the church became a medieval feudal castle and in 1265 the main tower was completed.
In the 14th century the castle appears in the historical record in the possession of the Freiherr von Fry(i)berg, who were vassals of the powerful Vaz family. In 1333 a coalition of religious and secular lords fought against the Vaz and their vassals, including the Frybergs. Both Jörgenberg and the nearby village and castle of Siat were captured by the coalition. The peace treaty on 1333 returned the castles, but the Freiherr von Rhäzüns had some type of a claim on it. However, a few years later the last member of the Vaz family, Donat, died leaving the Frybergs without a powerful patron. To avoid losing their estates, they sold Siat and Jörgenberg to the Dukes of Austria and then received them back as a fief. In 1342 the last male heir of the Fryberg family, Reinher, died and the Austrians gave the castle to the Counts of Werdenberg. The Freiherr von Rhäzüns demanded the castles based on his claim from 1333 and began attacking the Austrians in the region. During the fighting the main tower was burned. The peace treaty of 1343 placed the fate of the castle in the hands of an arbitrator, who granted the castle to Rhäzüns.
Beginning around 1351 the Rhäzüns family rebuilt the burned tower and added a palas to the north-west corner. In 1378 they bought the nearby Herrschaft of Grünenfels and combined the two into the Herrschaft of Jörgenberg. They appointed vogts to administer the herrschaft for the following century. In 1458 Jörgenberg passed to the Counts von Zollern. The local farmers and villagers disliked the foreign Swabian Zollerns and refused to pay them homage and often rose up in rebellion. A little over a decade later, in 1472, the Zollerns got rid of the troublesome province by selling it to the Abbot of Disentis Abbey. Under the abbot the castle remained the administrative and judicial center of the herrschaft. A pair of stone gallows pillars were built near the castle for executions. In 1539 the Protestant Reformation swept through the area, eliminating much of the Abbey's secular and judicial power and forcing the Abbey to sell Jörgenberg to Mathias Rung von Waltersburg. At that time the castle and church were still in good condition. In 1580 Mathias Rung sold the castle to L. Gandreya, whose family held it for more than a century. During the 17th century it was abandoned and began to fall into ruin. In 1705 they sold the ruins to the municipality. In 1734 the Abbot of Disentis surrendered all his rights to Waltensburg, but retained the title of Lord of Jörgenberg.
In 1931-32 the castle ruins were excavated, cleaned and reinforced. It was repaired again in 1998–2001.
The castle sprawls across a 100 by 70 meters plateau atop St. George's hill east of Waltensburg/Vuorz. Most of the church is in ruins, but the Romanesque bell tower is still standing. The slender tower is decorated with blind arches and was built around 1070. The mostly ruined walls of the church were built in the 12th or 13th centuries, though the northern wall was rebuilt in 1930. The church has a broad nave with a horse-shoe shaped apse and a choir of tuff blocks.
The castle was built in the 12th and 13th century. The five-story main tower was finished around 1265. It is a Romanesque building with round arch windows in the upper two stories. The palas was built around 1351 and was expanded with additional housing later. The ring wall along the northern side of the plateau was also added later.
The two stone pillars of the old gallows are located west of the castle.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.