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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Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.