Farnsburg ruin

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Farnsburg ruin
Farnsburg ruin

Farnsburg ruin

Creation time : between 1319 and 1342
Castle type : Höhenburg, spur location
Conservation status: ruin
Place: Buus , Ormalingen and Hemmiken
Geographical location 47 ° 29 '35.5 "  N , 7 ° 52' 14"  E Coordinates: 47 ° 29 '35.5 "  N , 7 ° 52' 14"  E ; CH1903:  632550  /  260360
Height: 734  m above sea level M.
Farnsburg ruins (Canton of Basel-Landschaft)
Farnsburg ruin

The Farnsburg ruins are located between the villages of Ormalingen and Buus in the canton of Baselland in Switzerland .


The ruins of the Spornburg are located at 734  m above sea level. M. in a distinctive spur location on the northeastern edge of the Farnsberg where the borders of the communities Buus , Hemmiken and Ormalingen meet. This rock spur - Schmaedecke calls it the spur terrace - was artificially terraced, which led to a vertical drop of around 8 meters between the rock spur and the shield wall . Immediately in front of the complex, an approximately 9-meter-wide neck ditch was dug , which on the one hand protected the castle site as an obstacle to the approach and on the other - like the terracing - served as a quarry for the extraction of building material for this fortress. The neck ditch was filled in with 200 truckloads towards the end of the use of the facility (in order to be able to create a garden) and is only preserved at the access bridge.

The ruin is very easily accessible, offers a wonderful view from the shield wall (modern spiral staircase integrated in the shield wall) and is excellently explained on site with a large overview plan and historical outline. The Hofgut Farnsburg is still located below the castle ruins, from where the Burgweg leads up to the Farnsburg. Alternatively, the ruins of the Buuseregg (bus station) can be easily hiked on marked trails.


The Farnsburg has a length of around 130 meters (including the Vorwerk) with a maximum width of almost 60 meters (with the shield wall). It is clearly divided into an extensive lower castle ( outer castle ) on the rock terrace on the eastern and northern side and an upper castle ( inner castle ) on the rock head in the western area.

Outer gate attachment and gate ditch with bridge and pillar (2010)

Access to the entire castle complex leads past a forecourt with a gate ditch (no longer visible) and an outer gate fastening at the southeast end of the neck ditch. The gate fastening consisted of a gate and a flanking semicircular tower (bulwark still visible). After passing the Vorwerk and the bridge over the Torgraben, the inner gate is reached, which originally served the function of the outer gate up to the construction of the Vorwerk in 1461 (after it was taken over by the City of Basel): this has been removed down to the foundations. According to historical illustrations, this inner gate consisted of a protruding square tower with a pent roof. The extensive lower castle was surrounded by a curtain wall, which was reinforced with towers. In the southeastern corner of the Bering stood the "begging tower" (also known as the Hundsturm), a strong round tower to which a guard house (with stables) and a granary were built.

Dog or beggar tower with granary and guard house (2010)

A semicircular shell tower (used at times as a powder tower or armory tower for the hook boxes ) strengthened the middle of the east wall. In the northern part of the castle was a residential building: The building and adjacent thereto stables are identified as the home of ministerial family Zielemp whose seal is the coat of arms of Ormalingen today. Other buildings, only partially preserved, leaned against the curtain wall; Based on the sources, Schmaedecke suspects that burials even took place in the lower castle at times. While the lower castle mainly served economic purposes, the upper castle was used for representative purposes (office building, chapel) and residential purposes (including bathing room!). The long staircase leads from the lower castle up to the upper castle.

Long stairs from the blue tower (2010)

This entrance to the kennel runs along the south-eastern flank of the rock head to the "Blue Tower" and after a hairpin further over a drawbridge (over a so-called Wolfsgraben ) to the Pfisterhaus (from Pistor = baker, i.e. the bakery). Further gates were integrated in both the Blue Tower and the Pfisterhaus, which secured access to the upper castle. In the blue tower there was a side door to the cistern system , the water supply of the castle: This reached down to the groundwater level and ensured a reliable water supply for the upper castle, which could be defended even after a storm of the lower castle.

Cistern system (2010)
Shield wall and Vorwerk (2010)

The upper castle was protected on the side of the neck ditch by a mighty shield wall, to which small crowd watch towers , so-called pepper boxes, were attached at both ends . On the inside was the residential wing, which, according to old illustrations, was covered with a pent roof and housed at least four floors. In addition to the living rooms, the castle kitchen was also located here: the smoke duct embedded in the inner shell of the shield wall is clear evidence of this.

Smoke vent embedded in the shield wall (2010)

A second cistern (almost 6 m³ capacity), which was fed with rainwater from the roofs, was located between the residential complex and the administrative building complex: However, it is severely disturbed by bunkers from the Second World War .

Upper castle with residential and official buildings (2010)

In the north-eastern part of the upper castle there was a multi-part building wing that contained office rooms, an office, a bathing room and the castle chapel as well as an apartment for the chaplain. There was a small courtyard between the residential wing and the administrative wing.


There are a number of indications that a previous building stood on the rocky spur as early as the beginning of the 14th century or even considerably earlier: As early as 1309, the Thierstein servant Zielemp - who is later attested to living in the castle - appears as a seller of Thierstein goods: So he could have lived in the castle (previous building) at the time of these sales activities. Furthermore, fragments (e.g. ceramics from the 13th century) from older buildings were built into the wall core of today's castle. This is also an indication of a previous building, as the building materials were mostly obtained nearby due to a lack of transport capacity. An older predecessor building seems to have been practically completely eliminated with the construction work on the current castle, and a clear statement is therefore not really possible.

Today's Farnsburg was built by the Counts of Thierstein around 1330 (between 1319, when the original Frohburg ownership was transferred to the Thiersteiners, and in 1342, the Thiersteiners, named after the Farnsburg, acquired other goods in the vicinity of the castle) . Schmaedecke evaluates either Sigmund II (1262 to 1326) or his son Otto I (1318 to 1347) as the builder: A direct, joint initiative of the two can be practically ruled out, as Otto was only eight when his father died.

Viewing platform on the shield wall

The castle was first mentioned in writing in 1363, and in 1367 the castle was documented as the location of a document. For several generations it formed the seat of the Thierstein-Farnsburg sidelines, which from there exercised the Landgrave's office in Sisgau . After their extinction, the barons of Falkenstein took over the castle, rule and landgrave office, which was a fiefdom of the Bishop of Basel , in 1418 .

Hans and Thomas von Falkenstein joined the House of Habsburg around 1440 and took an active part in the old Zurich War on its side . While the confederates besieged the city of Zurich in 1444, the Falkensteiners attacked the city of Brugg and set it on fire. Then they withdrew to the Farnsburg, where they were followed by a federal army of almost 1,500 men and besieged the castle. The departure of the siege army in the direction of Basel and the subsequent battle at St. Jakob an der Birs on August 26, 1444, in which the federal army was completely destroyed, saved the defenders of the Farnsburg. The war waged by the city of Basel against the Austrian-minded noble families after the battle led to the political and economic collapse of the Falkenstein family. Due to the long-term poor financial situation of the Falkensteiners, it can be assumed that they left the castle to rotting and it began to become dilapidated.

In 1461, the city of Basel bought the Farnsburg rule (castle, goods and rights) from the Falkensteiners as part of its expansion policy. The former noble castle was converted into an administrative seat, a bailiff's castle (transition from '' Burg '' to '' Schloss ''). It was rebuilt in a contemporary and representative manner (e.g. installation of glass windows in 1462) and repaired, and the aforementioned Vorwerk was built.

While the castle continued to have strong fortification elements, the crew clearly indicated the changed purpose: There was no longer a strong military crew, but an administration and service team. This consisted of B. 1461 from six servants, four night watchmen, two day watchmen and a hunter with a total armament of 22 rifles and 10 crossbows. Due to the civilian use of the complex, the security-related buildings were naturally neglected, and so it was possible to take the castle without any problems as early as 1653 (14 insurgents in the Peasants 'War) and finally in 1798 (storming of the Basel bailiffs' castles by farmers). In 1798 the town bailiff was finally expelled and the castle was set on fire by country people. The same thing happened in the castles of Waldenburg and Dornach . The ruin was then used as a quarry and fell apart quickly.

In 1930 and 1931, parts of the castle ruins, which were buried under rubble, were uncovered and restored. At that time, a spiral staircase was built on the north-western face of the main castle, which leads up the shield wall to a viewing terrace. The establishment of a military observation post disrupted the main castle during the Second World War, but repair work was also carried out on the historic complex in 1944 and 1945. This maintenance work was continued in small steps from 1947 to 1959 with the help of an maintenance fund until the canton took over the maintenance of the ruin in 1963. After a series of discussions between the castle committee and the canton archeology, major - hardly documented - repairs were tackled in 1981/82 and 1986.

In 1989, during forest work on the south-east corner of the facility, the powder tower was uncovered (today it has grown over again).

The major renovations in 2002 and 2003 (summer months) were scientifically monitored, the building stock was better documented and its building history was evaluated. In 2012, however, cracks were found in the shield wall and the ruins were closed due to the risk of collapse. After the district administrator of the canton of Basel-Landschaft approved the necessary credit, the ruins were renovated from June to November 2013 for CHF 300,000 and are accessible again.

See also


  • Michael Schmaedecke: The Farnsburg ruin, The renovation 2002 and 2003 as well as observations on the building history and previous renovations . Archeology and Museum Baselland, Liestal 2005.
  • Werner Meyer : Castles from A to Z - Burgenlexikon der Regio . Published by the Castle Friends of both Basels on the occasion of their 50th anniversary. Klingental printing company, Basel 1981, pp. 94–97.
  • Carl Roth : The castles and palaces of the cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft . Part 1 / Delivery 4a, pages 87 to 101, Birkhäuser, Basel 1932.

Individual evidence

  1. Access to the Farnsburg ruins is blocked for security reasons on baselland.ch, accessed on July 17, 2012.
  2. Farnsburg ruins safely back on basellandschaftliche zeitung.ch, accessed on June 24, 2014.

Web links

Commons : Ruine Farnsburg  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files