Sämi and I traveled to the Trachselwald Castle with no expectations. It was a spontaneous choice on a beautiful summer weekend. We found this castle in one of our books about Switzerland. Was built in 12th – 13th century and in times of the Reformation was a prison for Anabaptists. As many castles have prisons we were not thinking that this one will be something really special…
We came to the castle and first what we saw was a garden. Small but beautiful, designed in a French style with a little fountain in the middle. Perfect place to take some pictures. As no one is around just birds and cute tritons chilling inside the water of the fountain, we felt free and relaxed and had no idea that we are taking photos in the garden, where once were dining prisoners and most of them were murdered inside the thick walls of the tower next to us.
We took the stairs to come up to the castle and already then I felt like it will be something special – being inside of this place. Surrounding was quiet and peaceful, little square inside, everything is clean and perfectly maintained. But something is in the air. I could not describe this special energy I felt. Just later I understood why…
We came to the tower and first of all, we read information about this place. All were written in German. Here are a few words about this place I managed to translate:
«In Prison cells of the castle of Trachselwald were caged in 16th-18th centuries many of Anabaptists. First Anabaptists demonstrated in Bern in 1530, and shortly after were displaced to the Emmental. Between 1528 and 1571 in Bern were executed about 40 Anabaptists and half of them were inhabitants of Emmental. The last one was Hans Haslebacher from Sumiswald. But even later, baptists were still persecuted. They had to pay big fines and even being deported.
The situation has been changed just in 18 the century. And in 1831 the faith of Anabaptists started to be tolerated.»
Inside of the tower was scary. We have seen many of dark and small prison cells where Anabaptists were tortured and executed…
We could listen to the song of Hans Haslebacher – the reason for his death. This song was forbidden in Bern. The oldest existing exemplar is from the 1630 year and now is placed in Kitchener Library, Ontario, Canada.
When we reached the top of a super scary tower we realized that we are not alone anymore. A big group of the US tourists came to visit the Trachselwald castle. We met some of them on our way down. They were super friendly and asked us if we are also religious. We kindly answered: «Unfortunately not, but we love history and we learned a lot while visiting this place.» They smiled back and wished us a good day. Incredibly lovely people.
In the end, we met another kind person – lady, which is working here. She took time and told us all the history about Anabaptist in the canton of Bern, prisoners of this castle, who and how died here. From her, I know that my favorite horse breed in Switzerland – Freiberger (FM) is bred by Anabaptists! Incredible! Also, we learned that Anabaptists are excellent farmers, they are living in harmony with nature, they are kind and good people.
Our Trachselwald castle adventure was great and educational. Now we know much more about Switzerland, culture, religion, and history of canton Bern. We met great people and saw a typical architecture of Emmental. Went to the village and visited a beautiful church with stunning paintings on the sailing. If once you will be visiting Emmental, come and visit this place!
How to get there:
We came with the train S44 to the Sumiswald-Grünen station, then 30 min walking in a beautiful landscape and forest. The entrance was free but you always can give some tips.
- Mo-FR 08:00 – 18:00
- SA 09:00 – 18:00
- SO 12:00 – 18:00