The Castle Tower from Murten, built in the 13th century, still needs detailed archaeological research in order to tell us more about its later construction phases and the development of its use.
After the inspection with Christian Kündig from the Office for Archaeology it could be established that the Castle Tower is a related building type of the "Donjon" of Bossonnens in the Canton of Fribourg. Both were built in the same construction period. The last floor was probably only accessible via a ladder at the other end of the current staircase and served as the last retreat after the first and second construction phases.
The first prison cells were installed in the castle part of the tower. However, it is not documented from when on the tower was used as a dungeon. Whether the two 1540 built-in barrel vaults were already installed for this use remains open. In the Castle Tower, one cell per per floor was built and heated by means of a stone or metal furnace. In 1939, new additional prison cells were constructed in the adjacent shed. These were closed during the reorganization of the cantonal police in February 2002.
In the cells of the Castle Tower graffiti is found dating back to 1970. The graffiti on the fireplaces in the attic served for internal communication between the military detainees and their caretakers. They were not covered for the public visits of the tower during the cultural heritage year 2018. Nevertheless, we ask visitors not to damage, remove or comment on these important social and historical witnesses with additional works of art.
The jackdaws, sometimes also called tower jackdaws, have been breeding in Murten Castle since the 1930s. Since 1984, the colony has been looked after by Roland Gander for the ornithological station Sempach. Today's colony has about 20 breeding pairs. The young birds are only big enough from the end of June to go search for food on their own for 4-6 weeks. Some of them live in trees before they, according to the "habits" of their colony, re-establish themselves in the existing nesting boxes in order to reproduce from March onwards. In order to be able to observe the easily frightening animals, we ask visitors and nature lovers to approach the windows slowly and to avoid loud conversations.