By the 12th or 13th century the Lords of Wimmis or Strättligen built Wimmis Castle above the village. The exact relationship between the two families is unclear, but the Wimmis line became extinct in the mid-13th century and by 1260 the Freiherr von Strättligen owned Wimmis Castle and the surrounding lands. A few years later the castle and lands were incorporated into the extensive holdings of the Freiherr von Weissenburg. Over the following years, the town at the foot of the castle was attacked and burned twice by Bernese troops, in 1298 and 1334 and the castle was attacked and taken in 1334. After the war, Freiherr Johann the Elder von Weissenburg was forced to sign a treaty with Bern. The castle and surrounding bailiwick were inherited by the Freiherr von Brandis in 1368. However, in 1398 he sold a half share of the estates to the von Scharnachtal family and in 1437 sold the remaining half to them. The von Scharnachtals held the castle and bailiwick until Bern bought it back in 1449.
Under Bernese rule the castle became the center of the Niedersimmental district. During the 17th and 18th centuries the castle was expanded in several stages into its current appearance. In 1708 a fire broke out in the castle town, destroying the entire settlement around the castle. The castle town was abandoned and the current castle gardens were planted on the site. After the 1803 Act of Mediation, the castle became the center of new Niedersimmental district. In 1967 the district administration moved into a modern office building but the district court remained in the castle. In 2010 the administrative structure of the Canton of Bern changed. The court moved from Wimmis to Thun and the castle was given to the municipality.
The castle probably grew out of an early medieval church and fortified estate that was built on hill above Wimmis. The original castle consisted of a Bergfried, attached living quarters and a wall. After it passed to the Freiherr von Weissenburg, Rudolf III expanded the castle. He encircled it with a double curtain wall and built the detached Letzi Spissi wall about 1 kilometer south-west of the castle. The Letzi Spissi was built to help defend the entrance to the Niedersimmental.
After the castle was acquired by Bern it was converted into the residence of the Bernese Vogt. It was expanded and renovated throughout the 15th to 17th centuries. During the 15th and 16th centuries, the outer wall was rebuilt and the Vogt's residence was expanded and renovated. The original gatehouse which faced west was replaced with a long covered stairway on the south side. In 1696, Vogt Albrecht Manuel had the south residence wing built. In 1741-42 the Vogt, Franz Ludwig Steiger, built the large north-east wing. The castle was renovated and expanded in 1789-90, again in 1949-51 and finally in 1984-87.References:
The Seaplane Harbour is the newest and one of the most exciting museums in Tallinn. It tells stories about the Estonian maritime and military history. The museum’s display, that comprises of more than a couple of hundred large exhibits, revitalizes the colourful history of Estonia.
British built submarine Lembit weighing 600 tones is the centrepiece of the new museum. Built in 1936 for the Estonian navy, Lembit served in the World War II under the Soviet flag. It remained in service for 75 years being the oldest submarine in the World still in use until it was hauled ashore in 2011. Despite its long history, Lembit is still in an excellent condition offering a glimpse of the 1930s art of technology.
Another exciting attraction is a full-scale replica of Short Type 184, a British pre-World War II seaplane, which was also used by the Estonian armed forces. Short Type 184 has earned its place in military history by being the first aircraft ever to attack an enemy’s ship with an air-launched torpedo. Since none of the original seaplanes have survived, the replica in Seaplane Harbour is the only full-size representation of the aircraft in the whole World.
Simulators mimicking a flight above Tallinn, around-the-world journey in the yellow submarine, navigating on the Tallinn bay make this museum heaven for kids or adventurous adults.
Seaplane Harbour operates in architecturally unique hangars built almost a century ago, in 1916 and 1917, as a part of Peter the Great sea fortress. These hangars are the World’s first reinforced concrete shell structures of such a great size. Charles Lindbergh, the man who performed the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, landed here in 1930s.
On the outdoor area visitors can tour a collection of historic ships, including the Suur Tõll, Europe's largest steam-powered icebreaker.