Wildenberg Castle

Zernez, Switzerland

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.

Castle site

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:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Details

Founded: 13th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Switzerland

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

User Reviews

Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of Our Lady before Týn

The Church of Our Lady before Týn is a dominant feature of the Old Town of Prague and has been the main church of this part of the city since the 14th century. The church's towers are 80 m high and topped by four small spires.

In the 11th century, this area was occupied by a Romanesque church, which was built there for foreign merchants coming to the nearby Týn Courtyard. Later it was replaced by an early Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn in 1256. Construction of the present church began in the 14th century in the late Gothic style under the influence of Matthias of Arras and later Peter Parler. By the beginning of the 15th century, construction was almost complete; only the towers, the gable and roof were missing. The church was controlled by Hussites for two centuries, including John of Rokycan, future archbishop of Prague, who became the church's vicar in 1427. The roof was completed in the 1450s, while the gable and northern tower were completed shortly thereafter during the reign of George of Poděbrady (1453–1471). His sculpture was placed on the gable, below a huge golden chalice, the symbol of the Hussites. The southern tower was not completed until 1511, under architect Matěj Rejsek.

After the lost Battle of White Mountain (1620) began the era of harsh recatholicisation (part of the Counter-Reformation). Consequently, the sculptures of 'heretic king' George of Poděbrady and the chalice were removed in 1626 and replaced by a sculpture of the Virgin Mary, with a giant halo made from by melting down the chalice. In 1679 the church was struck by lightning, and the subsequent fire heavily damaged the old vault, which was later replaced by a lower baroque vault.

Renovation works carried out in 1876–1895 were later reversed during extensive exterior renovation works in the years 1973–1995. Interior renovation is still in progress.

The northern portal is a wonderful example of Gothic sculpture from the Parler workshop, with a relief depicting the Crucifixion. The main entrance is located on the church's western face, through a narrow passage between the houses in front of the church.

The early baroque altarpiece has paintings by Karel Škréta from around 1649. The oldest pipe organ in Prague stands inside this church. The organ was built in 1673 by Heinrich Mundt and is one of the most representative 17th-century organs in Europe.