The Order of Brothers of the German House Saint Mary In Jerusalem took possession on the land of Gniew in 1283. Based on the law of Che³mno in 1297 the city stood next to the Teutonic castle built to the pattern of convent castles. The monumental silhouette along with the church of St. Nicholas is still constitute the characteristic dominant of the southern panorama of Gniew.
The Gniew Castle was the most powerful claim of the Teutonic Order on the left bank of the Vistula. Built at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries, it was the home of the Knights commanders, and in the times of Poland, when the town belonged to Poland, it was a mayor"s seat. The castle was rebuilt in several times (granary, prison) and eventually burned in the Great Fire in 1921.
In the years 1968-1974, the FAMA Ship Machinery Works in Gniew undertook the first stage of the reconstruction of the castle, completed by laying the ceiling over the top storey, roofing the building and covering the roof with ceramic tiles. Under the public works in 1992, the Council of the Town and Commune of Gniew began the second stage of renovation including the construction of the ceiling in the west and east wings, adaptation of the interior and reconstruction of the chapel as well as adaptation of the Castle Hill to serve tourism purposes. Currnetly the Gniew castle is owned by the corporation of castles 'Zamek Gniew'.
Fortress also houses branch of the Archaeological Museum in Gdansk, Husar"s banner under the auspices of Marshal of Pomeranian Voivodeship, Yellow infantry regiment of Adolfusa Gustawusa II, Schola Cantorum Gymevensis Choir, Hunting Center and the Military History Society of the brotherhood of Gdansk. Since 1992, the castle has been used as a venue for spectacles, historical shows and chivalric tournaments. Today it is recognized as one of the major centers for promoting and maintaining the medieval tradition and heritage in Poland. Throughout the year are organized events, conferences, conventions, scientific symposia, banquets, and historical feasts.References:
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.
Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.
In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.