Vårfruberga Abbey, previously Fogdö Abbey was a Cistercian nunnery from the 12th century until 1527. In the 12th century a house of Benedictine nuns was established in Fogdö, but its exact location is obscure. Excavations in 1991–92 revealed that a medieval fortification had been built on an elevation near the water, and it is possible that the nuns were displaced from their original place of settlement on this strategic site to make room for the fort. This would explain why they moved to what is now Fogdö church, where the nunnery was located from 1233. The church was used both as a parish church and as a monastic one, as is testified by an inset opening in the south wall - a so-called 'nun's window' ('nunneporten'). The quire was also widened so as better to accommodate the nuns' choral liturgy. Judging from the surviving walls, the services of a builder trained in the Cistercian style were obtained for the project. In 1252 the abbey was sent a letter offering protection from, and sealed by, Birger Jarl and his son Valdemar, which is still preserved in the Riksarkivet.
After 50 years the nuns moved again to the present Kungsberg (3 km east of Fogdö), where they were able to have built a full monastic complex in accordance with the Cistercian principles of monastery construction and layout. The new buildings were put into operation in 1289. At the same time the name of the community was changed to Vårfruberga ('Mountain of Our Lady'), and was formally accepted into the Cistercian order, as a daughter house of Julita Abbey. The church was built in the shape of a Latin cross, with three aisles and a short transept. The nave was divided by a wall to separate the nuns from the lay congregation. The church was roofed with tiles, and the external walls may also have been tile-clad.
In the Reformation Gustav Vasa dissolved the abbey in 1527 and appropriated its property and estates to the crown. He had the monastery buildings demolished to use as a source of stone for the construction of Gripsholm Castle. Parts of the walls survive.References:
The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.
The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.
Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.
The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.
Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.
The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.
During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.
In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.