Weissenau Castle was first mentioned in the historic record as castrum Wissenowe in 1298. It is unclear whether it was built by the Lords of Rotenfluh (Unspunnen) and then given in fief to the Freiherr of Weissenau or if it was built by the Weissenau family as the center of their estates. The castle was built on what was an island at the mouth of the Aare river into Lake Thun. In the intervening centuries, the waterway silted up and the island became connected to shore. The market town of Widen grew up across the channel from the castle and in 1362 was connected to the castle by a bridge. Around 1334, the Freiherr of Weissenau joined other local nobles in a war against the growing power of the city of Bern. After the defeat of the nobles, Weissenau was forced to sell the castle and Widen to Interlaken Abbey to pay his debts. In 1365, the Abbey moved the weekly markets and yearly fair away from Widen and to the village of Aarmühle (which is now Interlaken). Losing the market devastated Widen and it began to decline.

In 1528, the city of Bern adopted the new faith of the Protestant Reformation and began imposing it on the Bernese Oberland. The Abbey and its villages joined in an unsuccessful rebellion against the new faith. After Bern imposed its will on the Oberland, they secularized the Abbey and annexed all the Abbey lands. Weissenau Castle and the small village of Widen became a part of the Bernese bailiwick of Interlaken. The castle was used as a prison into the 16th century, but began to fall into disrepair and eventually collapsed. In 1655 and again in 1700 the bailiwick made plans to renovate and repair the castle. However, neither plan was implemented.

Today only ruins remain of the castle. The castle residence and tower, portions of the castle building and the curtain wall are all still standing.

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

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

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4.4/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Connsynn Chye (10 months ago)
Good spot to watch the sunset. It’s free and not crowded.
Karlo Beyer Location Scouting (16 months ago)
Open 24/7, free of charge, parking 5 min walk. No easy access for disabled people-stairs and narrow road. Inmidden of nature reservat Weissenau you'll find ruins and a great viewpoint to Lake Thun. It's the end of the lake and two river deltas created this natute jewel with a lot of rare birds. The former castle from 12th century was a very important fortress to save the transit routes over the alps and lies at a tight place where two ridges comes together. Impressive and very silent point of interest.
Adrianell Poteet Sorrels (16 months ago)
Very cool to climb the tower and look out over the lake. Fun ruins to explore for 15 minutes or so. Not a lot to see, just an enjoyable stop.
Mark Lakata (16 months ago)
We discovered this castle by accident and it was fun to explore the ruins with zero expectations. The castle tower stairs are in food condition. I wouldn't make a special trip. You are here to hike the Alps, right!? At least it was free.
Monique Nelson (19 months ago)
The walk here is beautiful, and there is a nature reserve right beside it. The architecture is amazing. The are some stairs leading up to the top that are very sturdy and it's well worth the climb to get the view! I was told that recent history is a little darker, with some neo-Nazi youth crime happening here 20 years ago or so. I haven't checked the facts, though.
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