Wynegg castle was built in the 13th century for the Wynegg family. The first known member of the family, Ludwig von Wynegg, appears in a record in 1254. The family last appears in 1270 when Ulrich von Wynegg was mentioned. The family probably served the Bishop of Chur or the Freiherr von Vaz. After the family died out, the castle and lands were inherited by Vaz family, though the Bishop also claimed that he owned the castle. At first Johann von Vaz appeared to accept the bishop's claim, but in 1299 he went to court to prove that it was legally his fief.

Even after the extinction of the Vaz family in 1337/38 the ownership of the castle remained murky. On 6 December 1338 Count Ulrich von Montfort swore that he would return the castle to his uncle Friedrich V von Toggenburg. It is unclear why this was necessary since Friedrich should have inherited the castle through his wife, Kunigunde von Vaz. Then, on 11 December 1338 Friedrich received the castle as a fief under the authority of the Bishop of Chur. Over the following decades the Toggenburg counts held the castle, along with Schanfigg and Davos, for the bishops. In 1421 Frederick VII and the bishop quarreled and the bishop withdrew the fief. However, following arbitration through the city of Zurich, Wynegg was returned to the count. In 1436 the last Count of Toggenburg died and the estate reverted to the bishop. In 1441 it was granted to the Junker Heinrich Amsler after which it disappears from the records until 1548 when it was described as a ruin.

Around 1600 the ruin was acquired by Andreas von Salis, who built a new three-story patrician style home in the ruins. In 1602 it was inherited by the Guler von Davos family through the marriage of his daughter Margaretha. They expanded the house and by 1624 were calling themselves Guler von Wynegg. For nearly two centuries it was a country estate for the family, but around the end of the 18th century it was abandoned and allowed to decay. In 1793 the municipality of Malans purchased the abandoned castle for 2,200 gulden.

Castle site

The ruins of Wynegg castle stand on a rocky outcropping north of Malans. Due to the 17th century construction, very little of the original castle still remains. Part of the old ring wall, which was up to 2.5 meters, and traces of the three-story palas can still be seen. On the east side, toward the mountain, a natural depression was deepened into a defensive ditch.

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

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Veste Coburg

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.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

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.

17th through 19th centuries

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.

20th century

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.

Today

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.