Gottlieben, an Imperial History
1 July 2021
Gottlieben is one of the smallest communities in Switzerland in terms of surface area. The castle dates back to 1251 and was built by Bishop Eberhard II. Truchsess von Waldenburg, prince-bishop of Constance from 1248 to 1274.
During the Council of Constance (1414-1418) it became the dungeon of the deposed pope John XXIII (1370-1419) and the Bohemian reformer Jan Hus, (1369-1415).
Hus died at the stake in Constance on 6 July 1415.
His death led to the Husite Wars (1419-1434), which devastated half of Europe from Brandenburg to Bavaria and Hungary.
During the Reformation Gottlieben adopted the Protestant faith. Swedish troops destroyed the city twice during the 30 Year War, in 1633 and 1646.
Hortense de Beauharnais (1783-1837), former queen of Holland, stepdaughter and sister-in-law of Emperor Napoleon I, went into exile in 1817 in the nearby castle Arenenberg.
Her son, Prince Louis Napoleon (1808-1873) bought Gottlieben Castle in 1836 and had the residential wing rebuilt in the neo-Gothic style. In 1852 he ascended the French throne as Emperor Napoleon III.