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 Arch of Constantine is situated between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. It was erected by the Roman Senate to commemorate Constantine I's victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312. Dedicated in 315, it is the largest Roman triumphal arch. The arch spans the Via triumphalis, the way taken by the emperors when they entered the city in triumph.
Though dedicated to Constantine, much of the decorative material incorporated earlier work from the time of the emperors Trajan (98-117), Hadrian (117-138) and Marcus Aurelius (161-180), and is thus a collage. The last of the existing triumphal arches in Rome, it is also the only one to make extensive use of spolia, reusing several major reliefs from 2nd century imperial monuments, which give a striking and famous stylistic contrast to the sculpture newly created for the arch.
The arch is 21 m high, 25.9 m wide and 7.4 m deep. Above the archways is placed the attic, composed of brickwork reveted (faced) with marble. A staircase within the arch is entered from a door at some height from the ground, on the west side, facing the Palatine Hill. The general design with a main part structured by detached columns and an attic with the main inscription above is modelled after the example of the Arch of Septimius Severus on the Roman Forum.