We all heard about the enchanting Castle of Gruyeres, but what about its History?
Standing tall up the hill, the castle was first mentioned in 1244. It was home to the counts of Gruyères for almost 5 centuries!
Until one Count Michel may have partied a bit too much and went bankrupt in 1554. That’s when Bern & Fribourg- his principal creditors- took over the castle.
For around 200 years, the bailiffs of Fribourg sat in the castle. They made sure to boost the famous cheese production and even export it all the way to Lyon in France. You can also visit La Maison du Gruyere and learn even more about it!
But Then the new district of Gruyère was established in Bulle in 1848– they realized that holding a castle bites a big chunk off the budget.
So, they put it for sale!
And guess who bought it? The Bovy family from Geneva!
Now these last ones were very much into art! they invited their friends from Geneva and France to give the castle a fresh and inviting new look. They painted colorful paintings on the walls to give the castle a more welcoming and cheerful appearance in order to battle the medieval dark impression that people had of it back in the days.
Another cool thing they did is promoting tourism in Gruyères by inviting their friends to stay in the castle and explore the region. I was shocked to discover that back then Switzerland wasn’t a popular touristic place at all. Travellers considered it to be no more than a STOP on the Grand Tour.
People like the Bovy family and other adventurous travellers helped changing Switzerland’s reputation from “boring and old fashion” into an alpine paradise as we know it today. That’s why in one of the rooms you can even find travel books and maps from the beginning of tourism in Switzerland. Which was also around the time that the castle of Gruyeres started appearing as well on postcards!