Bubendorf, Afghanistan, Wildenstein Castle and its Oaks
3 October 2023
When you think of Bubendorf (canton of Basel-Landschaft), you don’t immediately associate the village with Afghanistan or a health resort. And yet this village of over 4,000 inhabitants is home to the most extensive collection of Afghan literature, scientific publications, documentaries, photos, videos and pictures in Europe in the Biblioteca Afghanica.
Two thousand years ago, the Romans also knew Afghanistan, and who knows whether it is a coincidence that they built a temple, a Jupiter sanctuary and a villa on this site in the Frenken Valley. Centuries later, Alemanni inhabited this area, as graves from the 7th century show.
In the 11th century, the Prince-Bishop of Basel acquired the area. The Eptingen family, in the service of the bishop, built Wildenstein Castle in the 13th century and farmed the area for agriculture and livestock. In 1400, the city of Basel acquired the village, the Dinghof and its rights.
As early as 1640, the village was known for its spa resort, Bad Bubendorf. Wildenstein Castle was also a prestigious location with changing owners, including members of the Planta family and the Basel Vischer family (1792-1994).
The first assemblies took place in Bad Bubensdorf in 1830, which led to independence from Basel-Landschaft in 1833, although the village of Bubendorf remained loyal to Basel until the end. The secession from Basel took place in 1833 and led to the creation of the cantons of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Landschaft.
Political change is one thing, but the cultural landscape remained unchanged. Centuries-old oak trees, meadows and farmland are still as they were back then.
It is one of the last areas in Switzerland with a medieval cultural landscape. The appearance of the castle, its gardens, fountains and courtyards is also a picture of cultural history. The rural character and the villages are also still largely authentic.
However, the volume of the famous waterfall has changed. Not so long ago, the waterfall in the gorge was a real waterfall. Today, it is just a tiny fall, almost without water!
The Frenke stream in the village has also known better days. It is no coincidence that Bubendorf’s coat of arms features the saw of a wooden mill powered by the stream for centuries.
The Swiss Alpine Club
The Swiss Alpine Club (Schweizer Alpen Club, SAC/Club Alpin Suisse, CAS) regularly organises hikes in this area (and elsewhere) in the country.
The SAC organises ski tours, mountain climbing and other sports in the high mountains and the Alps and activities in other regions.
(More information: www.sac-cas.ch).
(Source and further information: Gemeinde Bubendorf)