The Wildenberg family was a cadet branch of the Greifenstein family of Filisur. In addition to Wildenberg Castle in Falera, they owned castles and estates throughout the valleys of Graubünden. Wildenberg Castle in Zernez was first mentioned as the home of the family in 1280/90. In 1296 the Bishop of Chur took the right to collect tithes from Wildenberg and pledged it to the Lords of Planta. It is unclear if the castle went with the tithes, but by the 14th century Wildenberg was owned by the bishop and held by the Planta family. In 1365 representatives from the communities around Chur met for the first time at the castle under the auspices of the Planta family. The representatives met because they were concerned about the growing power of Tyrol and the bishop's debts. Two years after the meeting at Wildenberg and building off the 1365 agreements, they founded the League of God's House to curtail the bishop's power.
By around 1400 the branch of the Planta family at Wildenberg was using the name von Wildenberg or Planta-Wildenberg and held the castle as a permanent fief. They became very wealthy with lands and rights from the bishop as well as the mining concession in the Lower Engadine from Emperor Henry VII. While the Planta-Wildenberg family often loaned money to the bishop, their relationship was not always good. In 1430 Conradin von Planta-Wildenberg wrote and demanded the abdication of Bishop Johann von Chur, who in turn excommunicated Conradin. Late in the 15th century the Planta-Wildenberg family supported the bishop against the emperor. In 1498 Hans von Planta-Wildenberg signed a treaty between the League of God's House and the Swiss Confederation which sought to limit the power of the emperor. According to tradition, during the Swabian War of 1499 Hans von Planta-Wildenberg killed an imperial knight at the Battle of Calven.
In 1570 the chronicler Ulrich Campell described Wildenberg as a medieval castle with a central tower and three residential wings. The owner of the castle, Balthasar von Planta-Wildenberg had been married six times and had numerous children who helped increase the wealth and power of the family.
In 1616 Rudolf von Planta-Wildenberg switched from supporting the bishop against the Habsburgs to join the pro-Habsburg party. This infuriated the local villagers and minor nobility. In 1618 when Rudolf received Archduke Leopold of Austria at Wildenberg, the people revolted, attacked and besieged the castle. During the siege, Rudolf and his family escaped but the castle was taken and burned. Four years later, during an Austrian offensive Rudolf was finally able to return to Wildenberg. He rebuilt the damaged castle beginning in 1622. After Rudolf's death in 1638, the castle passed to the a cadet line of the Planta family, the Planta-Aredz. In 1649-50 the castle was again expanded.
The castle continued to be held by the Planta family for several more centuries. In the 18th century, the castle was once again expanded. In 1856 it was sold to the Bezzola family. Then, in 1956, the municipality of Zernez acquired Wildenberg and moved the municipal administration into the building. It was repaired and restored in 1989-94.
The castle is an 'L' shaped building with the central tower at in the center. Stone walls enclose gardens on the inside of the 'L' (to the north-west) and on the south side of the castle. The courtyard is also enclosed with walls and is on the east and north-east side of the castle. The gate into the courtyard garden features the combined coats of arms of Hartmann and Flandrina von Planta from 1650. The medieval tower was topped with a spire in the 18th century. Above the external stairs from 1760 are the coats of arms of Johann von Planta and his wife Maria Jecklin The two wings are connected by a large staircase with a richly stuccoed and painted ceiling in a classical style from the 17th century.References:
Heraclea Lyncestis was an ancient Greek city in Macedon, ruled later by the Romans. It was founded by Philip II of Macedon in the middle of the 4th century BC. The city was named in honor of the mythological hero Heracles. The name Lynkestis originates from the name of the ancient kingdom, conquered by Philip, where the city was built.
Heraclea was a strategically important town during the Hellenistic period, as it was at the edge of Macedon"s border with Epirus to the west and Paeonia to the north, until the middle of the 2nd century BC, when the Romans conquered Macedon and destroyed its political power. The main Roman road in the area, Via Egnatia went through Heraclea, and Heraclea was an important stop. The prosperity of the city was maintained mainly due to this road.
The Roman emperor Hadrian built a theatre in the center of the town, on a hill, when many buildings in the Roman province of Macedonia were being restored. It began being used during the reign of Antoninus Pius. Inside the theatre there were three animal cages and in the western part a tunnel. The theatre went out of use during the late 4th century AD, when gladiator fights in the Roman Empire were banned, due to the spread of Christianity, the formulation of the Eastern Roman Empire, and the abandonment of, what was then perceived as, pagan rituals and entertainment.
In the early Byzantine period (4th to 6th centuries AD) Heraclea was an important episcopal centre. A small and a great basilica, the bishop"s residence, and a funerary basilica and the necropolis are some of the remains of this period. Three naves in the Great Basilica are covered with mosaics of very rich floral and figurative iconography; these well preserved mosaics are often regarded as fine examples of the early Christian art period.
The city was sacked by Ostrogoth/Visigoth forces, commanded by Theodoric the Great in 472 AD and again in 479 AD. It was restored in the late 5th and early 6th century. When an earthquake struck in 518 AD, the inhabitants of Heraclea gradually abandoned the city. Subsequently, at the eve of the 7th century, the Dragovites, a Slavic tribe pushed down from the north by the Avars, settled in the area. The last coin issue dates from ca. 585, which suggests that the city was finally captured by the Slavs. As result, in place of the deserted city theatre several huts were built.
The Episcopacy Residence was excavated between 1970 and 1975. The western part was discovered first and the southern side is near the town wall. The luxury rooms are located in the eastern part. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th rooms all have mosaic floors. Between the 3rd and 4th rooms there is a hole that led to the eastern entrance of the residence. The hole was purposefully created between the 4th and 6th century.