The Castle at Burgdorf was the largest castle ever built by the Dukes of Zähringen and dates from the 12th Century. The museum it now houses dates from 1886 and was founded by Rittersallverein Burgdorf.
The location of the castle is down to its location as the entry to the more mountainous region of Emmental.
There have, apparently, been pre-historic finds which indicate a permanent settlement at Burgdorf before Roman Times.
According to legend, two Counts of Lenzburg Sintram and Bertram defeated the local dragon and, in the process, won the prominent sandstone cliff above the Emme on which they built their castle. The first mention of the castle, however, was in 1175. Burgdorf town was probably only founded towards the end of the 12th Century and extended again at the end of the 13th Century.
Burgdorf came into the possession of the the Count of Kyburg when Berthold V died heirless in 1218 and the Zähringen house died with him. When the Counts of Kyburg died out, Count Rudolf of Hapsburg intisgated the House of Kyburg-Burgdorf. In around 1300, the lower part of Burgdorf was enclosed so that trade and industry could develop around the water from the stream and water-wheels were installed.
In time, with the decline of the Counts and the rise of Burgdorfs industry and commerce the towm was able to buy certain rights from the Counts.
Following a war from 1382 to 1384, Bernese and Swiss Confederate troops unsuccesfully sieged the town and castle. Despite the victory the counts had to sell the town, castle and their estates in Thun to Berne As Berne owned Burgdorf from 1384, a Bernese governement representative in the form of a mayor resided in the castle.
Burgdorf flourished again in the late middle ages as a result of tanning and the weaving of wool and linen.
Between 1471 and 1490, the late-Gothic Church was built.
The Construction of the railway in 1857 allowed Burgdorf to integrate further with the outside would and factories, workers houses and indusrialist mansions emerged in the area. The town was extensivly rebuilt following the Great Fire of 1865. In 1891, the Cantonal College of Technology was founded in Burgdorf.
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Mark Sukhija is a travel and wine blogger, photographer, tourism researcher, hat-touting, white-shirt-wearing, New Zealand fantatic and eclipse chaser. Aside from at least annual visits to New Zealand, Mark has seen eclipses in South Australia (2002), Libya (2006), China (2009) and Queensland (2012). After twelve years in Switzerland, Mark moved back to London in 2012. You can follow Mark on Twitter or Facebook