Tarasp Castle (Switzerland)
Grisons See list of castles in Svizzera
Few fortresses in Switzerland dominates a landscape as prominent as the mighty Tarasp Castle. Built on a one hundred meter high rock, the fortress overlooking the village at the foot of the hill of the castle and its white walls are reflected in Lake Tarasp.
In the first half of the 11th century, the Lords of Tarasp settled here after moving from the Lake Como region to the Engadine. In 1239, the fortress fell to the counts of Tyrol. Since the Lower Engadine belonged to the diocese of Chur, they followed several violent conflicts between the Counts of Tyrol, Graubünden and bishops of Chur on the property of the castle and the hegemony in the Lower Engadine. Starting in 1464, Tarasp is an Austrian county. Even today, the wall of the palace flaunts the imperial eagle and an inscription saying "Hie Estereih". During the 16th century, the complex was enlarged to its current size and converted into a border fortress.
In 1803 Napoleon assigned Tarasp the Helvetic Republic. Yet the young Canton of Grisons had neither the money nor a reasonable use of poorly maintained fortress and, in 1829, sold Tarasp for less than five hundred francs to a private man from Scuol. Tarasp changed hands several times and in the following decades was completely looted. Furniture and wall panels were taken away from the wagons and sold on the art market. Crenelated walks and wooden porches were reduced to pieces and used as firewood by the villagers. Around 1900, the castle remained desolate and left to ruin.