During the 12th century the Bishop of Basel granted the Buchsgau region, which included the village of Oberbipp, to the Count of Froburg to hold as a fief. By 1268 Bipp Castle is first mentioned in a document. During the 13th century the counts of Froburg appear to have gradually lost most of their holdings in the Buchsgau until only the villages of Bipp, Wiedlisbach and Erlinsburg remained. At some point in the following years the Froburgs also lost ownership of Bipp Castle, though whether it was sold or captured is not clear.
In 1297 Count Rudolf of Neuchâtel-Nidau granted the castle to one of his Ministerialis knights. Then, in 1313 Rudolf’s son, also a Rudolf, granted the castle and the right to collect tolls on the bridge to Aarwangen. In 1362 Count Rudolf of Nidau became the Lord of Froburg along with his other titles. However, when he died childless his estates were divided between several family members. Eventually, Rudolf of Kyburg inherited the castle and surrounding lands. Following a disastrous Kyburg raid on Solothurn which led to the Burgdorferkrieg (1383-84), the lands were sold to the Habsburgs in 1385. In the following year Bipp went to Basel and then in 1406 back to the Kyburgs, who had to sell it to Solothurn and Bern in the same year.
Until 1463 Bern and Solothurn jointly administered the nearby villages from Bipp Castle. After this, Solothurn received the Neu-Bechburg vogtei and Bipp became fully part of Bern. The castle became the seat of the Bernese ‘’landvogt’’ or reeve. Over the following three centuries a total of 62 Bernese administrators ruled over the region.
On 2 March 1798 the French Army captured Solothurn during their invasion of Switzerland. The last Bernese landvogt fled Bipp Castle ahead of the invading army. The residents of Oberbipp and Niederbipp then plundered the castle, taking everything they could carry off. A French report from 16 March 1798 records that the castle was uninhabitable because even the windows and doors had been carried off.
The ruins of Bipp Castle were sold in 1805 and were partly demolished to provide stone for other buildings. In 1855 the ruins were sold to the Stehlin family of Basel, who built a small mansion on the site of the former castle granary.
The castle was built on hill near the village of Oberbipp. The castle was an elongated polygon with a massive palas on the eastern side and a slender, round bergfried on the west, connected by a line of buildings. The northern side of the castle was a curtain wall connecting the palas and bergfried. The main wall was further protected with a lower, outer wall with several round and square towers. A granary and stables were outside the wall on the southern flank of the castle hill.References:
The St Sophia's Cathedral was built between 1045-1050 inside the Novgorod Kremlin (fortress). It is one of the earliest stone structures of northern Russia. Its height is 38 m. Originally it was taller, for during the past nine centuries the lower part of the building became concealed by the two-metre thick cultural layer. The cathedral was built by Prince Vladimir, the son of Yaroslav the Wise, and until the 1130s this principal church of the city also served as the sepulchre of Novgorodian princes. For the Novgorodians, St Sophia became synonymous with their town, the symbol of civic power and independence.
The five-domed church looks simpler but no less impressive than its prototype, the thirteen-domed St Sophia of Kiev. The cathedral exterior is striking in its majesty and epic splendour evoking the memories of Novgorod's glorious past and invincible might. In the 11th century it looked more imposing than now. Its facade represented a gigantic mosaic of huge, coarsely trimmed irregular slabs of flagstone and shell rock. In some places (particularly on the apses), the wall was covered with mortar, smoothly polished, drawn up to imitate courses of brick or of whitestone slabs, and slightly coloured. As a result, the facade was not white, as it is today, but multicoloured. The play of stone, decorative painting and the building materials of various texture enhanced the impression of austere simplicity and introduced a picturesque effect.
The two-storied galleries extend along the building's southern, western and northern sides, with a stair-tower constructed at the north-eastern corner. The cathedral has three entrances - the southern, western and northern, of which the western was the main one intended for ceremonial processions. A gate standing at the entrance is known as the Sigtuna Gate (mid-12th century); according to legend, it was brought from the Swedish town of Sigtuna in 1187. The second name of the gate derives from the town of Magdeburg, where it was made. The two leaves are decorated with biblical and evangelical scenes in cast bronze relief. In the lower left corner there are portraits of the craftsmen who created this superb specimen of medieval Western European bronze-work. An inscription in Latin gives their names, Riquin and Weissmut. The small central figure - judging from an inscription in Slavonic - is a representation of the Russian master craftsman Avraam, who assembled the gate.
There is yet another bronze gate in the cathedral, called the Korsun Gate. Made in the 11th century in Chersonesos, Byzantium, it leads from the southern gallery into the Nativity Side-Chapel. Legend has it that the gate was handed over to Novgorod as a gift of Prince Yaroslav the Wise (c. 978 - 1054).
The interior of the cathedral is as majestic as its exterior. It is divided by huge piers into five aisles, three of which end in altar apses. In the south-western corner, inside the tower, there is a wide spiral in relatively small, modest buildings of the 12th - 16th centuries.