Mylau Castle is one of the best-preserved medieval castles in Saxony. It was probably erected during the German eastward expansion under the regime of Emperor Barbarossa. It offered protection to the predominantly Frankish settlers in an area that was sparsely inhabited by Slavs. Under the protection of the castle, among others the trade city Reichenbach im Vogtland was founded. The 27 m tall Bergfried was built according to Romanesque style. The castle was built as hill castle with a single courtyard on a ridge of approximately 80 m long and 35 m wide, at the point where the Seifenbach flows into the Göltzsch river. Originally four defense towers and a dry boat surrounded the castle.
The first record of the Lords of Milin who inhabited the castle dates from 1214. As a result of the War of Vogtland (1354–1357), emperor Charles IV ordered them in 1367 to sell the castle to the Bohemic crown. That same year, he visited the castle and granted town privileges to the adjacent town of Mylau. Charles IV, whose relief in porphyry can be seen above the main entrance gate, instated a royal Bohemian office and began the expansion of the structure, which was continued by his sons Wenceslaus IV and Sigismund. Part of the castle was destroyed in 1400 due to a feud between Wenceslaus IV and the Vögte of the Vogtland. During the renovations, two large outer baileys were erected.
In 1422, Sigismund pledged Mylau Castle to the prince-elector of Saxony in gratitude for his services during the Hussite Wars. The castle would remain in the hands of the Saxons, except between 1547 and 1569 when a burgrave was appointed over the Vogtland. One of the members of the rotating burgraves was Joseph Levin von Metzsch (1507–1571), a friend of Martin Luther. In the late 16th century, the aristocratic Thuringian-Saxon Von Schönberg family owned the castle. It was no longer used for defense purposes, but received a residential destination. In 1772, following a large reconstruction, it lost its aristocratic estate and has been privately held since.
Between 1808 and 1828 it housed the first factory in northern Vogtland of local spinning magnate Christian Gotthelf Brückner (1769–1834). The various owners of the castle had it expanded and renovated various times before it became municipal property in 1982. In the late 19th century, a foundation had the castle rebuilt in historic style to serve as city hall, tavern and museum.
The many modifications in earlier and more recent history makes Mylau Castle a melting pot of styles. The museum that opened in 1883 contains the largest natural history collection in the Vogtland. It furthermore offers an expositions on the construction of the Göltzsch Viaduct and it provides information on the regional geology and mining. In 1899/1900, a room was dedicated to the aristocratic Metzsch family, who have long owned the castle. The most representative room of the castle is the council chamber, which was inspired by the Wartburg. From the castle's Market Gate, the Imperial Path leads up to the imperial court, along which 13 panels explain the castle's most remarkable features and describe the time under the emperors and Bohemian kings Charles IV, Wenceslaus IV and Sigismund.References:
The Church of St Eustace was built between 1532-1632. St Eustace"s is considered a masterpiece of late Gothic architecture. The church’s reputation was strong enough of the time for it to be chosen as the location for a young Louis XIV to receive communion. Mozart also chose the sanctuary as the location for his mother’s funeral. Among those baptised here as children were Richelieu, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, future Madame de Pompadour and Molière, who was also married here in the 17th century. The last rites for Anne of Austria, Turenne and Mirabeau were pronounced within its walls. Marie de Gournay is buried there.
The origins of Saint Eustache date back to 13th century. The church became a parish church in 1223, thanks to a man named Jean Alais who achieved this by taxing the baskets of fish sold nearby, as granted by King Philip Augustus. To thank such divine generosity, Alais constructed a chapel dedicated to Sainte-Agnès, a Roman martyr. The construction of the current church began in 1532, the work not being finally completed until 1637. The name of the church refers to Saint Eustace, a Roman general of the second century AD who was burned, along with his family, for converting to Christianity, and it is believed that it was the transfer of a relic of Saint Eustache from the Abbey to Saint-Denis to the Church of Saint Eustache which resulted in its naming. Jeanne Baptiste d"Albert de Luynes was baptised here.
According to tourist literature on-site, during the French Revolution the church, like most churches in Paris, was desecrated, looted, and used for a time as a barn. The church was restored after the Revolution had run its course and remains in use today. Several impressive paintings by Rubens remain in the church today. Each summer, organ concerts commemorate the premieres of Berlioz’s Te Deum and Liszt’s Christus here in 1886.
The church is an example of a Gothic structure clothed in Renaissance detail. The church is relatively short in length at 105m, but its interior is 33.45m high to the vaulting. At the main façade, the left tower has been completed in Renaissance style, while the right tower remains a stump. The front and rear aspects provide a remarkable contrast between the comparatively sober classical front and the exuberant rear, which integrates Gothic forms and organization with Classical details. The L"écoute sculpture by Henri de Miller appears outside the church, to the south. A Keith Haring sculpture stands in a chapel of the church.
The Chapel of the Virgin was built in 1640 and restored from 1801 to 1804. It was inaugurated by Pius VII on the 22nd of December, 1804 when he came to Paris for the coronation of Napoleon. The apse chapel, with a ribbed cul-de-four vault, has at its centre a sculpture of the Virgin and Child of Jean-Baptiste Pigalle that the painter Thomas Couture highlighted by three large paintings.
With 8,000 pipes, the organ is reputed to be the largest pipe organ in France, surpassing the organs of Saint Sulpice and Notre Dame de Paris. The organ originally constructed by P.-A. Ducroquet was powerful enough for the premiere of Hector Berlioz" titanic Te Deum to be performed at St-Eustache in 1855.