According to legend, the first castle on the site of Grasburg was built by a Roman hunter who saw the massive sandstone spire on an island in the Sense river. He saw a red deer on the cliff over the river and went to catch it. As he rode after the deer a dragon roared out of a cave, but the hunter quickly killed the dragon. The deer then walked up to the hunter and offered his life to the hunter. The hunter allowed the deer to go free and the deer gave him possession of the area. The hunter than built the first castle on the top of the sandstone spire on the island. A bridge was built over the river and became part of the Roman road from Aventicum. The legend continues that after the Roman Empire collapsed, a Walliser robber took over the old Roman castle as a new hideout. He began to hire local villagers to help him expand the castle toward the east. Initially he acted friendly and kind, but when the workers complained of the work or asked for pay, he murdered them and mixed their blood into the mortar. This, according to legend, is why the mortar on the east side is particularly hard. While the Romans lived in the area, there is no archeological evidence of a Roman or early medieval fortification.

Despite the local legends, the first castle on the site may have been a wooden fortification, but the oldest stone walls are from the 11th or 12th century. It was probably built by a Burgundian or Zähringen noble. The castle was first mentioned in 1223 as Grasburc. In the same year, a knight, Otto von Grasburg was mentioned at the castle, followed in 1228 by the knight Kuno von Grasburg. In the 13th century the castle and lands passed to the Kyburgs and then after their family died out in 1263/64 the Habsburgs beat out the Counts of Savoy to inherit it. Under the Habsburgs several Ministerialis (unfree knights in the service of a feudal overlord) families held the castle.

In 1310 Henry VII, the King of Germany, pledged the castle and surrounding Herrschaft to Count Amadeus of Savoy to pay debts. The Counts held the estate for over a century, until the remote location and gradual decay forced them to sell the castle and territory to Bern and Fribourg in 1423. The two cities established a condominium or shared rule over the land. The castle served as the residence and administrative center for the vogts that were appointed by alternating cities. In 1575 the increasingly expensive castle was abandoned and the vogt moved to Schwarzenburg Castle. The castle gradually fell into ruin and in 1845 the Canton of Bern sold the ruins to a private owner. In 1894 the city of Bern bought the ruins and began restoring them. By the spring of 1902, the main tower was about ready to collapse. The Canton spent four years repairing and reinforcing the tower. Another project in 1928-31 repaired and restored other parts of the castle ruins. A third project in 1983-84 restored and repaired the ruins further.

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Founded: 12th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in Switzerland

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en.wikipedia.org

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User Reviews

Olena Shalena (2 years ago)
Very beautiful place! 5-10 min of hiking, free entrance.
Emily Bowyer (2 years ago)
Beautiful and so relaxing
N Jones (2 years ago)
Nice place for a picnic and an explore. The ruins are well maintained.
Jonathan Petherbridge (2 years ago)
Great little place! Not far from car park, or longer walks available. It is very refreshing to see a ruin that isn't fenced off. You can climb up onto the old walls and look out over the river and forest. There is a nice clearing and a few stops for fires too.
Tomo Tor (3 years ago)
1. Nice ruins to climb 2. Closest parking to the FKK/naturist Sense beach 3. Swiss level of security (=0, all own fault) 4. Good views around, tranquile place. Take good gear if u wanna go up
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Quimper Cathedral

From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

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Isolated from its environment in the 19th century, the cathedral was – on the contrary – originally very linked to its surroundings. Its site and the orientation of the facade determined traffic flow in the town. Its positioning close to the south walls resulted in particuliarities such as the transfer of the side gates on to the north and south facades of the towers: the southern portal of Saint Catherine served the bishop’s gate and the hospital located on the left bank (the current Préfecture) and the north gate was the baptismal porch – a true parish porch with its benches and alcoves for the Apostles’ statues turned towards the town, completed by an ossuary (1514).

The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».

The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.