This fortress was once a stately home for knights and aristocrats. Today, the impressive fortress ruins are a fascinating attraction due to their historical significance and appeal.
Knight Hartmann, the son-in-law of the Mayor of Zurich, Rudolf Brun was involved in the Zurich Guild Revolution and sought backing through an alliance between the City of Lucerne, the City of Zurich, and the original cantons of Central Switzerland. After his death, the male hereditary line of succession died out. You can still see an original helmet and coat of armor in the Weaponry Hall at the National Museum in Zurich. His coat-of-arms, the white pillow on the red background, became the official coat-of-arms of the Department of Küssnacht.
The fortress experienced a second golden age under the rule of aristocrats of the von Silenen family from Canton Uri. Famous offspring of the family recall being born in the fortress in Küssnacht and also being baptized in the parish church, for example Jost von Silenen, the Provost of Beromünster, Bishop of Grenoble & Sion and Diplomat commissioned by the King of France. The last of the von Silenen family spent their time in Rome and consequently left their home fortress fall into disrepair.
According to the last version of the Urner Tellenspiel and to famous historican Ägidius Tschutte, Reeve Gessler also claimed residence in the fortress in Küssnacht. From this time on, it has been referred to as the Gesslerburg (Gessler Fortress). It served as a quarry during the building of the parish church and eventually the quarry collapsed, until 1908 when the Swiss Confederation purchased the parcel of land and excavated the fortress.
This excavated site is not your typical aristocratic fortress, rather it typifies a refined way of life due to the extensive trade conducted on the north-south trade routes. Around theGesslerburg, you will find a pond, a bone mill, and a historical water-wheel, which has been full restored and brought back into operation since 1996