Castle spotlight, Chateau de Gruyères, Switzerland

Chateau de Gruyères

Gruyères is 810 m above sea level, 4.5 km south-south-east of the district capital Bulle. The historical town is placed on top of an isolated hill north of the alps, in the foothills of mount Molèson . It is also the location where the Saane river (French name: Sarine) leaves the Fribourg alps. Long famous for it's cheese it is also home to a  notable castle with wonderful baroque style interiors.

The Castle of Gruyères located in the medieval town of Gruyères, Fribourg, is one of the most famous in Switzerland. The castle, constructed in the 13th century, was home to a long succession of Gruyères counts. The end of the 15th century stands out as the golden age in the history of the counts. In 1476, count Louis took part in the Burgundy war on the Confederate side. Following this deed of valor, modernization works were undertaken. The adjustment of the esplanade with its chapel, the spiral staircase in the courtyard and the transformation of the main building date to this period. The castle lost it's fortress appearance to become a stately residence. The baroque interiors are reminiscent of the time  the bailiffs sent by Fribourg resided there.

The Castle was decimated by a fire in 1493 which destroyed virtually everything except the dungeons. Michel, the last count, ran up huge debts reconstructing the living quarters in Savoyard style and then fled, leaving his creditors – the governments of Fribourg and Bern – to divide up his lands between them.

 A rich Geneva dynasty, the Bovy and Balland families, bought the castle in 1848 and supported a number of artists in residence, including the French landscape painter Corot, before the cantonal government of Fribourg assumed control in 1938. The Castle was made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.

Gruyeres castle

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