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Habsburg Castle - ancestral home to a mighty dynasty
Situated on the picturesque Wülpelsberg, a hill near Brugg, Habsburg Castle served as the ancestral home to the Habsburg Dynasty. Today the keep is only partially preserved, but the impressive wall, a small permanent exhibition and numerous bookable tours and educational programmes still illustrate the former might and glory of the dynasty. Highlight of any visit must be the splendid view of the Habsburg's former Argovian domain. Here, history is within one’s grasp.
Habsburg – from a fortress to a global empire
Habsburg Castle, the ancestral home of the eponymous Habsburg dynasty was founded around AD 1020/30. Though the castle has not survived times of war and peace unscathed, the ruins of the Anterior Fortress can still be explored safely and the Posterior Fortress now hosts a permanent exhibition detailing the many conflicts the Habsburgs were engaged in during the Middle Ages. The restaurant, tucked into a secluded corner of the castle complex offers refreshments and full meals to the hungry explorer.
Not much is known about the original fortress. Mostly a wooden structure, only the main building was built from stone, offering shelter to the family during times of war.
In the 11th century the fortress was extended into a castle complex and the wooden structures were replaced by stone buildings. During the 13th century the Anterior Fortress was left to deteriorate and further construction work was restricted to the Posterior Fortress, which had by then also been abandoned. With the Argovian invasion by the Swiss Confederates in 1415 the Habsburgs finally lost ownership of the castle.
The Habsburg Dynasty continued to play a major role in the politics of the following centuries but never returned to their ancestral home or their former Argovian holdings.
For centuries the castle was left untouched and fell into ruin, the Anterior Fortress completely disappearing into the ground, until some renovation work was undertaken in 1866. From 1978 to 1983 conservational efforts were carried out and the castle’s foundations were rediscovered. In 1994/5 the castle courtyard was subject to scientific study for the very first time.
Living history at an original location
A small exhibition covering the history of the castle's construction and occupation was set up in the Anterior Fortress and additional information panels detailing the construction history can be found throughout the castle complex. Some artefacts in the exhibition detail courtly culture during the 11th and 12th centuries.
The King's Route (Königsweg) is ideal for a short stroll with a variety of audio points in and around the castle. This tour offers visitors a unique opportunity to discover more about the Habsburg Dynasty and their rise to power.
Bookable tours, workshops and tours interspersed with theatrical scenes as well as events for families during the entire season breathe new life into this witness to past times.
Habsburg Castle is open all year round, admission is free.
Opening hours according to operating hours www.schlossrestaurant-habsburg.ch
Picnic areas around the castle.
Dog are permitted on the castle grounds.
The castle terrace and restaurant are wheelchair accessible.
The Castles restaurant Castle restaurant (in German) serves everything from snacks to a gourmet menu. Medieval dishes are available on request.
By public transport:
By train to Brugg, take the bus from Brugg railway station to Habsburg.
Duration about 60 min. from Brugg. Follow the hiking signs.
A1 motorway exit in Brugg, direction Habsburg (brown signposts)
Parking lot, free of charge, in front of the castle.
Go hiking along the Habsburg Trail from Wildegg to Habsburg or from Brugg to Habsburg. Cycle paths along the River Aare from Brugg.
Several hotels in Brugg.