Discover some of the most beautiful and historical treasures of Switzerland.
This website is dedicated to promoting and discovering the architectural and historical landmarks of this country. Many of the monuments were along some of the most important trade routes in Europe while others are simply "neuveau riche" homes built in the last 200 years. There are over 500 castles and forts distributed throughout the country. Not all are restored and many will remain ruins. This is a selection of some of these buildings. This is your hub to help you find the castles you want to discover and explore.
All the these landmarks have been visited by the author of this website and all the pictures taken are while visiting these beautiful places.
Switzerland is now called the land of chocolate and watches. But before the advent of the industrial age, Switzerland was a very rural country that was often influenced and dominated by foreign powers. During this period, many castles were built in strategic places all over the country. These castles changed hands often and were at the centers of many conflicts in the years prior to the renaissance. During the last few centuries leading up to the industrial revolution most of the castles became obsolete or were abandoned as their strategic importance fell. Today their historical value is growing again, drawing more visitors each year.
Umberto Eco wrote a great historical murder mystery „The Name of the Rose* set in an Italian monastery with a secret library, that was later filmed staring Sean Connery as William of Baskerville. This romantic ideal of monastery life isn’t what you will find today when visiting any Swiss monasteries. What you will find however are some beautifully maintained historical sites that are coming back to life as new sanctuaries for find peace and quite from stress or burnout. Some are still run by monks, others have been converted to convention centers and schools.
The modern villa (estate) made it’s comeback with the industrial revolution. Since castles became obsolet, cold and impractical the modern villa took it’s place. Some villas want to look like modern castles will others are simply beautiful building that reflect the new way of living that the industrial revolution brought with it. Many of these buildings have now become historical in their own right, reflecting back to a time of economic revolution. These monuments are now also loosing their importance and often need to be saved from falling apart as the needs and tastes of the time have change yet again.
Heidegg Castle is located in the municipality of Gelfingen in the Seetal of Lucerne. It is 800 years old and has a wonderful rose garden. The castle has a museum that is open to the general public. The castle has a wonderful view of the alps.
Meggenhorn Castle in Meggen is located near city of Lucerne. It was built in 1868/70 by Edouad Hofer-Grosjean from Mulhouse and in 1926 equipped with a Welte Philharmonic Organ. It has a wonderful public garden and is open to the general public.
This water castle dating from the late Middle Ages lies south-east of the Ettiswil village center, in an idyllic natural setting. The water castle was documented for the first time in 1304. It is now used for events and weddings.
There are over 500 castles in Switzerland
Rapperswil Castle was built in the early 13th century AD by the House of Rapperswil in the former independent city of Rapperswil. It's located at the bottom of lake Zürich and is part of the Canton St. Gallen.
Lenzburg Castle is located above the old part of the town of Lenzburg in the Canton of Aargau. It ranks among the oldest and most important castles of Switzerland.
Chillon Castle sits on an small island along the shoreline of lake Geneva in the canton of Vaud. It is situated at the eastern end of the lake, between Montreux and Villeneuve. It’s one of the most visited castles in Switzerland.
Many of these places have over a thousand years of history
Kappel am Albis Monastery
Kappel Abbey is a former Cistercian monks monastery located in Kappel am Albis in the Swiss canton of Zurich. It's perched on a ridge with a beautiful view of the alps and the city of Zug.
Hallwyl Castle is one of the most important moated castles in Switzerland. It is located on two islands in the River Aabach, just north of the northern end of Lake Hallwil in the municipality of Seengen in the canton of Aargau.
Many of these monuments have been lovingly restored
Wildegg Castle is a castle in the municipality of Möriken-Wildegg in the Swiss canton of Aargau. This castle is part of a series of castles that have been restored and is now open to the public.
The Villa Patumbah was built between 1863 and 1885 for Karl Fürchtegott Grob. The villa is one of the most important witnesses of historicism in Zurich and is a protected monument.
Mauensee Castle located close to Sursee in the canton of Lucerne, is a privately own property located on a small island with a private wooden bridge to access the island.
Einseideln abbey is one of the largest monasteries in Switzerland. Its imposing church in the Baroque have made it one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country. The monastery is located in the Canton of Schwyz at the foot of the town of Einsiedeln.
Located on a hilltop, the original castle walls no longer exist and have been replaced by a ring of buildings that now make up the hilltop town. All that remains now is a tower that over looks the village below and the fantastic view that extends all the way to the boarders of Germany.
Perched up above Uster on a small hill, this inconspicuous castle is ignored by the passing traffic below. Of little historical importance and now converted into a school, Uster castle will never gain the same share of attention as some other castles in the region like Kyburg castle.
A castle (from Latin: castellum) is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble. This is distinct from a palace, which is not fortified; from a fortress, which was not always a residence for nobility; and from a fortified settlement, which was a public defence – though there are many similarities among these types of construction. Usage of the term has varied over time and has been applied to structures as diverse as hill forts and country houses. Over the approximately 900 years that castles were built, they took on a great many forms with many different features, although some, such as curtain walls and arrowslits, were commonplace.
A villa was originally an ancient Roman upper-class country house. Since its origins in the Roman villa, the idea and function of a villa have evolved considerably. After the fall of the Roman Republic, villas became small farming compounds, which were increasingly fortified in Late Antiquity, sometimes transferred to the Church for reuse as a monastery. Then they gradually re-evolved through the Middle Ages into elegant upper-class country homes. In modern parlance, 'villa' can refer to various types and sizes of residences, ranging from the suburban "semi-detached" double villa to residences in the wildland–urban interface.
A monastery is a building or complex of buildings comprising the domestic quarters and workplaces of monastics, monks or nuns, whether living in communities or alone (hermits). A monastery generally includes a place reserved for prayer which may be a chapel, church or temple, and may also serve as an oratory.
Monasteries vary greatly in size, comprising a small dwelling accommodating only a hermit, or in the case of communities anything from a single building housing only one senior and two or three junior monks or nuns, to vast complexes and estates housing tens or hundreds. A monastery complex typically comprises a number of buildings which include a church, dormitory, cloister, refectory, library, balneary and infirmary. Depending on the location, the monastic order and the occupation of its inhabitants, the complex may also include a wide range of buildings that facilitate self-sufficiency and service to the community. These may include a hospice, a school and a range of agricultural and manufacturing buildings such as a barn, a forge or a brewery.