Dragsholm Castle is one of the oldest secular buildings in Denmark. The original castle was built around 1215 by the Bishop of Roskilde. During the Middle Ages, the building was modified from the original palace to a fortified castle. During the Count's Feud (1534–36) it was so strong that it was the only castle on Zealand to withstand the armies of Count Christoffer.
In connection with the Reformation, Dragsholm was passed on to the Crown. As Crownland during the period from 1536 to 1664, Dragsholm Castle was used as a prison for noble and ecclesiastical prisoners. In the large tower at the northeast corner of the medieval castle, prison cells were made and equipped with toilets and windows depending on the prisoner’s crimes, behaviour and the seriousness of his insults towards the King.
During the wars against Charles X Gustav of Sweden, an attempt was made to blow up Dragsholm Castle, and the place was a ruin until the King as part payment of his outstanding debts gave the castle to the grocer Heinrich Müller, and he started the restoration.
In 1694, Dragsholm Castle was sold to the nobleman Frederik Christian Adeler and finally rebuilt as the baroque castle we see today. Several owners from that family have made a lasting imprint on the development, including G. F. O. Zytphen Adeler, who took the initiative to drain the Lammefjord. The family line became extinct in 1932, and Dragsholm Castle passed over to the Central Land Board which sold the place to J.F. Bøttger, but only with the land belonging to the main estate.
Today, the baroque style of the castle still remains intact, but the interior of the Castle has been subject to restorations and modernisations over the years. The most recent major restoration took place after the first world war, where the Baron aimed for a Late Romantic Style, which still prevails in the salons and ballrooms.
In recent years, the Bøttger family has managed the running of the castle after a number of minor restorations, which in addition to general conservation of the building has had the purpose of raising the level of quality of the castle as a hotel, restaurant and attraction. The hotel rooms at the castle have been refurbished and modernised, and more rooms have been added in the porter’s lodge on the other side of the moat.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.