The Habsburg Path
Even one of the most powerful and longest-reigning dynasties of Europe has its beginning. The origins of the Habsburgs go back to Alsace in present-day France and the Aargau in Switzerland. Written sources in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries confirm possessions (lands, castles) and the foundation of monasteries in these regions in the eleventh en twelfth centuries. The most famous monasteries are Muri and Hermetschwil in Aargau and Murbach and Ottmarsheim in Alsace. In Aargau, the castle and village of Habsburg recall the first centuries of the rise of the dynasty. Habsburg is derived from the German name Havichsberg or Havesborc or Habicht and means castle of the Hawk. It is also a fact that the Habsburgs maintained contacts with Frankish kings, perhaps as early as the time of the Merovingians, and later German kings and emperors. Through inheritance, conquests, the extinction of competitors (including the dynasties of Kyburg, Zähringen and Swabia) or royal gifts for services rendered, the dynasty became increasingly influential. Count Rudolf I (1218-1291) was the first of the dynasty to be elected German king (1273).
The path (der Habsburger Weg) is a hiking trail that leads past historical medieval places in the canton of Aargau, including the monasteries of Muri, Königsfelden, Wettingen and Hermetschwil, the castles of Wildegg, Habsburg and the ruins of Stein and the towns of Brugg, Bremgarten, Lenzburg, Baldegg and Baden. (Further information: www.habsburgerweg.ch).