Västerplana Church date from the 12th century. In the 18th century the church was considered to be too small and therefore it was enlarged and transformed into a cruciform church. Thus the direction of its nave is no longer west to east but north to south, where the chancel is today. The northern arm of the cross was begun in 1724 and the southern one was finished in 1737. This new part of the church got a high altar in the 1730s and paintings on the ceiling at about the same time. The old pulpit from 1636 was now rebuilt and placed in the new chancel in the south.
The remarkable medieval baptismal font has been attributed to a certain Master Othelric, whose signature you can find in the church of Skälvum, only a few kilometres from here. His works show traces of German as well as of English influence, and so experts assume that he was born in Germany but learned his craft mainly in England.
The Madonna with the Christ-child from the early 13th century is a good specimen of Swedish wood-carving.There is also a somewhat younger wooden sculpture representing St John the Baptist. The triumphal crucifix originally belonged to the neighbouring church of Medelplana and can be dated back to the end of the Middle Ages, but the cross belonging to it is not as old as that.
The paintings on the walls of the old chancel were created in the 1630s and those on the ceiling in the 18th century, the latter inspired by what could be seen and admired in the Castle of Läckö.References:
Ceský Sternberk Castle is an early Gothic castle which was constructed, named and still owned by members of the same family. Today it is a residence that bears a long historical and architectural heritage and represents an attractive tourist destination open to the public. It is considered one of the best preserved Gothic Bohemian castles.
The castle was initially built in 1241 by Zdeslav of Divisov, later called Zdeslav Sternberg. The development of new firearms in the 14th century posed an unexpected threat to the defensibility of the castle. Its 13th century architects hadn't foreseen the danger of long-range firearms and its reinforcement became a necessity. During this period the Ceský Sternberk castle's fortifications were improved through the construction in the north of a three-story tower, which was connected to the castle by a rampart. In 1467 the castle was seized by the royal armies of George of Podébrady. Later, the ruined castle was regained by Sternberk's aristocracy, who, by the turn of the 15th to 16th century, had reconstructed the castle, renewed its defensive system and expanded it with the construction of a new cylindrical tower in the south and the Dungeon in the north. The castle managed to survive the looting of the rebels in 1627, during the Thirty Years' War. With the death of Jan Václav in 1712, the Holicý branch of the Sternberg family died out and its ownership passed to other families, who in 1751 built the lower palace next to the surrounding wall.
The ownership of the castle was returned to the Sternberg family in 1841 when Zdenék of Sternberg from the Konopisté branch of the family bought it. It remained in Sternberg's ownership until 1949 when it was nationalized by the Communist government of the Republic of Czechoslovakia. After the fall of Communism and the Velvet Revolution, in 1992, Ceský Sternberk castle returned to Jirí's son, the count Zdenék Sternberg, the current owner of the castle.
Ceský Sternberk Castle was originally built as a Gothic castle. Eventually it underwent several periods of reconstructions and further fortification and the Gothic architectural features were in parts concealed by the new reconstructions. Especially the interiors of the castle were realized under the Baroque and Rococo styles. In 1760, the master Carlo Brentano performed the elaborate stuccoing and renderings of the halls' interiors. The castle offers a rare collection of 545 copper engravings, depicting the entire history of the Thirty Years' War. Also, historical weapons and hunting trophies are exhibited within the castle's halls.