The Freiherr von Schweinsberg first appears in documents in the 13th century at Wartenstein Castle in the Bernese Emmental. But a branch of the family was in Uri by the mid-13th century and occupied the castle, sometimes adopting the castle's name as their family name. By 1300 there were two branches, one under Werner II who held the lands in Uri and another under Diethelm I in the Berner Oberland. The Uri branch of the family is traditionally believed to have been critical supporters of the Three Forest Cantons and the early Swiss Confederacy. Werner II and his son Johann were the Landammann of Uri from 1294 until 1358/59. It is unknown what role, if any, Werner played at the Battle of Morgarten in 1315, but in 1339 Johann led the army of Uri at the Battle of Laupen.

The Schweinsberg/Attinghausen family owned Attinghausen Castle in the 13th century. As their fortunes grew in Uri, they built a second castle, Schweinsberg, a short distance north of Attinghausen later in the 13th century. The castle was probably built as a residence for knights in the service of the Freiherr of Attinghausen/Schweinsberg. Very little is known of the early history of the castle, though much of it is tied with the fortunes of the Attinghausen/Schweinsberg family.

On 1 May 1351, Rudolf Brun of Zurich and Johans von Attinghausen signed an alliance that brought Zurich into the growing Swiss Confederation. In 1353 they received the a fief that included the Imperial customs post at the Castle of Rudenz and became the Rector over Valais. However, in 1358 Johann died. Traditionally, it was believed that he died during an insurrection, which also destroyed the castle. However, more recent research indicates that he might have died of disease or while marching with his army. Johann's son, Jacob, was with the Pope in Avignon, but did not return to Uri or died while returning. Two of his cousins, Werner and Johann von Simpeln probably took over the Attinghausen lands and Attinghausen Castle in 1359. However, they both died soon thereafter, either of disease or in the 1360 fire that destroyed the castle. The Lords of Rudenz then inherited the Attinghausen lands and Schweinsberg Castle passed through a number of owners.

In the 16th century the castle was owned by the Zick family of Attinghausen. In 1617 it was given to Lieutenant Pompeus Tresch as a reward for his valor in battle. Following the Tresch family, it was owned by Johann Jakob von Beroldingen. At some point in its history it may have been owned by Attinghausen Nunnery. After passing through a number of other owners, in the late 19th century the Tresch family reacquired the castle and continue to own it to the present.

Castle site

The castle is a rectangular tower of irregular, unfinished stone. The upper most level is partially wooden with stone walls reaching the roof on two and a half sides. It is about 14 m × 10.5 m and 11 m high. The walls at ground level are between 1.4–1.6 m thick. Inside the tower is another stone wall, running parallel to the west wall, that reaches to the roof. This wall, together with the upper level stone walls creates a fortified inner room of about 4 m × 4.6 m. The original entrance was located part way up the tower on the north side and was reached by a wooden staircase. Today the main entrance is on the south at ground level and the high entrance is a window. The tower was probably surrounded by a wall and ditch, though no traces of either remain.

The ground floor was used for storage. The next floor was the original entrance and was used as a great hall. It was decorated with murals of the Crucifixion and hunting scenes that were painted around 1480. Unfortunately, many of these murals have mostly deteriorated, and the room is now used as a kitchen.



Your name

Website (optional)


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

More Information

User Reviews

Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.