Tarasp Castle was probably built in the 11th century or possibly as early as the 10th century. The name comes from terra aspera or wild earth, which may refer to the newly lands in the Inn river valley. They had adopted the name of the castle by 1089 when Ulrich von Tarasp was mentioned in a papal mandate to the Bishop of Chur. Around the same time the family founded Scuol Monastery, which later moved to Marienberg Abbey, as part of their program to carve out a barony in the formerly uninhabited high alpine valley. At this time the castle consisted of a ring wall and a chapel with a bell tower that also served as a watch tower.
In 1160 Ulrich II donated his portion of the castle to the Bishop of Chur. However, his nephew and co-owner Gerhard, with the support of the Count of Tyrol, seized the castle and drove out the bishop's troops in 1163. The bishop, together with Ulrich von Tarasp and his cousin Egino von Matsch, besieged the castle and eventually forced Gerhard to compromise. The castle became the bishop's, but Gerhard and his descendants would hold the castle as their fief. If Gerhard died without an heir, the castle would revert to the bishop. In 1170 Gerhard died a violent death, followed by the last male heir, Ulrich, in 1177. The castle passed to the bishop while the Matsch family inherited the Abbey. In 1200 the bishop appointed the Reichenberg family as his vogt or representative in Tarasp Castle. In 1239 Swiker von Reichenberg, ignoring the bishop's claim, sold the castle to the castle to Albert of Tyrol. Beginning in 1273 the Matsch family received Tarasp as vassals of Tyrol.
The Matsch family held Tarasp for about a century and a half. When the lands of the Counts of Tyrol were inherited by the Dukes of Austria, the Matschs became Habsburg vassals. In 1422 Frederick VII of Toggenburginherited Tarasp through his wife Elisabeth von Matsch, but when he died in 1436, it returned to the Matsch family. In 1464 Ulrich IX von Matsch sold the castle to Sigmund of Austria, which triggered an uprising in Lower Engadine. While the Austrians were able to retain control over the region, relations remained tense between the castle and the locals. When the Protestant Reformation was adopted in Engadine the situation became worse. In 1548 and again in 1578 Protestant locals attacked and attempted to capture the castle. Despite additional fortifications, in 1612 they successfully stormed and burned Tarasp. A lightning strike in 1625 set the castle on fire again and killed the daughter of the Austrian representative in the castle.
Over the next centuries, Tarasp was occupied by a number of administrators, but remained under Austrian control. By the 18th century Tarasp was the only Austrian territory in Switzerland. Throughout this period, the castle was often expanded and renovated to its present appearance. After the French invasion of Switzerland and the creation of the Helvetic Republic, in 1803 the castle was taken from the Austrians and given to the Republic. A few months later, when the Republic collapsed, the castle was transferred to the newly created Canton of Graubünden. After about 1815 the castle was abandoned and rapidly fell into ruin.
Initially the Canton planned to turn the castle into a prison, but eventually gave up the idea as too expensive and began looking for a buyer. The von Planta family bought it in 1856, began repairing it and replaced the damaged roof. In 1900 it was purchased by Dr. Lingner of Dresden, who restored the castle for a decade from 1906 to 1916. After his death, Grand Duke Ernest Ludwig von Hessen inherited the castle from Lingner. It was turned into a museum in 1919. In 2004 the von Hessen family announced that they wanted to sell the castle. In 2008 the municipality of Tarasp agreed to investigate purchasing it and converting it into a cultural and tourist attraction. In 2010 the Fundaziun Chastè da Tarasp was created to seek funding and administer the castle after it was purchased. After the Foundation struggled to raise funding, in 2015 Swiss artist Not Vital announced that he would purchase the castle. In March 2016 Not Vital acquired the castle.References:
The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.
A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.
In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.
In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.
In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.
From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.
In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.
The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.
In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.
The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.