Kyburg, ZH show Website
This internationally accredited museum offers interesting insights into daily life in a castle during the last eight centuries.
Towering 150 metres above the River Töss, Kyburg Castle boasts a splendid 270-degree view of the surrounding area from the Seerücken hills to the Hegau Volcanoes, the Feldberg, the Jura mountains and Alpine ridges to Glärnisch Mountain. Kyburg Castle is the best-preserved feudal keep in north-eastern Switzerland. It served as a powerful symbol of its owners’ might: the Counts of Kyburg, the Habsburg Kings and Dukes as well as the city of Zurich.
Nestled in the forests between Zurich and Winterthur, Kyburg Castle offers a splendid view of the former territories of the Lords of Kyburg. Its thick walls still serve as impressive reminders of its former owners’ might and power. A visit to Kyburg Castle includes everything from the cellar to the attic, from the guards’ rooms to the torture chambers and from the kitchen to the chapel. The permanent exhibition gives insight into what daily life at a castle would have looked like in the past 800 years and the museum was awarded the European Museum of the Year Award in 2002.
A symbol of power built in stone
By marrying Adelheid von Winterthur in 1070 Duke Hartman von Dillingen laid the building blocks for the rise of the Kyburg Dynasty, whose centre of power was Kyburg Castle. Whilst nothing remains of the original fortress, which was destroyed in 1079, Duke Ulrich III von Kyburg, one of the most important nobles in south-western Germany ordered the construction of the modern castle complex in around 1200, complete with a tower, palas, curtain wall and a chapel. During his time the Kyburg family’s territories stretched from Lake Constance all the way to Fribourg.
When in 1264, with no male heirs to inherit the castle, the entire Kyburg estates passed to the Habsburg family, this newly acquired wealth and power played an important role in Rudolf von Habsburg’s rise to power. He was elected German King and his son decided to store the Imperial Regalia at Kyburg Castle. Duke Leopold III added a great hall to the castle complex to further emphasize the castle's importance.
In 1424 the city of Zurich acquired the castle and its territories, doubling its own domain. From then on Kyburg Castle was home to bailiffs from Zurich, who had the former fortress turned into a castle residence and seat of administration.
After the Helvetic Revolution Kyburg Castle initially continued to serve as the administrative district headquarters, but was eventually acquired by a private individual in 1831. In 1865 Matthäus Pfau first opened it to the public and personally offered guided tours through Switzerland’s first castle museum.
A museum that appeals to all senses
Today visitors can explore and experience history in more than 30 rooms. The castle's 800-year history is conveyed: In the medieval kitchen visitors may try to sniff out once popular spices and herbs, a few floors up they can try on medieval slip-on robes. Dozens of suits of armour and helmets, and hundreds of halberds can be admired in the well-stocked armoury. Audio points, interactive computer stations, slide shows and son-et-lumière-installations offer additional information as well as visual and auditory entertainment.
Holy and healing herbs
The Romanesque chapel with its 15th century murals is particularly striking. The side choir is decorated with paintings detailing the suffering of the martyr Regula and the nave holds a depiction of sinners falling into the depths of hell on Judgement Day. More merciful saints such as Verena, Magdalena, Katharina, Ludwig and Ulrich are watching over the choir.
In front of the castle lie the Baroque cabbage and kraut gardens. Now as in the olden days, a selection of vegetables are still grown here. However, it also holds a variety of flowers, hedges and fountains, enticing visitors to stay a while and enjoy its many scents.
25 March to 30 October
Tuesday through Sunday and holidays: 10 am to 5.30 pm
- Adult: CHF 9.-
- Reduced entry: CHF 7.-
- Children (6–16): CHF 7.-
- School classes : CHF 3.-
From 15 persons: CHF 7.- per person
- Swiss Museum Pass
- Raiffeisen Member Card
Below the castle along the river Töss many fire places invite for picnicing, and under the lime trees in front of the castle some sunny and shady benches are available for a rest.
In the castle, picnicing, smoking as well as dogs are not allowed.
Backpacks and large bags must be handed in at the cashier.
- Restaurant Linde, Kyburg
- Gasthof Hirschen, Kyburg
By train to Effretikon, then by bus 655 to the bus station "Kyburg, Gemeindehaus" and a 3 minutes walk to the castle.
Parking lots at the village entrance.
There are beautiful walks to Kyburg Castle from Winterthur (1.5 h), Sennhof-Kyburg station (45 mins) and Kemptthal (1.5 h). The cycle trail up to the castle through the Tösstal valley follows a winding path and has an elevation gain of 150 metres.
- Gasthof Gyrenbad, Gyrenbad
- Hotel Wartmann, Winterthur
- Gasthaus Schlosshalde, Mörsburg