Augustenborg Palace owes its name to Duchess Auguste (1633–1701). Augustenborg gave its name to the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Augustenburg, the last member of which was Duke Christian August II (1798–1869). The original half-timbered manor house was built in 1660-1664 by Ernest Günther, the first Duke of Augustenborg, after he bought the village of Stavensbøl and demolished it for the land.
The one-storey, red-roofed buildings around the outer courtyard were added from 1733 while the main three-winged building, replacing the original manor, was built from 1770 to 1776 in full symmetry, a fine example of Baroque architecture. With its yellow-painted walls and blue-tiled roof, the wings gradually increase in height up to the central section. The three central bays of the facade protrude as an avant-corps three storeys high. Inside a beautiful entrance hall was finished in white-painted stucco by the Italian decorator Michel Angelo Taddei (1755–1831). Taddei also worked on the interior of the two-storey Baroque chapel in the building's northern wing, adding a Rococo altarpiece with an integrated pulpit as well as decorations along the vaults and walls of the nave. During the same period, much of the town was regenerated. The palace building underwent further renovation in the 1920s. Hans Christian Andersen spent two weeks at the palace in the autumn of 1844 and wrote The Little Match Girlwhen he visited the castle.
During the First Schleswig War (1848–50), Christian August II, the last duke to live in the palace, left Augustenborg as a result of his close relations with Germany. Thereafter the building was first used as a barracks and from 1878 as a seminary for women.
In 1921, Augustenborg was purchased by the Danish state. It was fitted out as a hospital in 1927–28 and since 1932 has been used as a psychiatric hospital. There is an exhibit about the palace, the town and its ducal history in the building's entryway.
The largest room in the castle is the church hall, which dates from the late 18th century. Not visible from the outside, it covers the entire two-storey annexe of the north wing and is the successor of an older chapel, from 1671, which was demolished before the construction of the castle. The hall, which has served as the parish church of the town since 1874, was extensively restored in 1972.
The rococo architecture of the church hall is consistent with the rest of the building. The stucco work was probably designed by Michelangelo Taddei. The hall has seven divided window bays. Six Doric and six Corinthian columns separate the room, forming a three-aisled hall. A curved balustrade leads to the pulpit altar on the eastern wall. The organ is placed over the high altar and was built by the Holstein organ builder, Johann Daniel Busch. The Carrara marble baptismal font was a gift of the Russian Tsar Alexander I.
The castle is situated directly above a bay of the Augustenburger Fjord, an arm of the Baltic Sea. The views of the bay and the landscape behind it appear to be a continuation of the garden in the distance. The grounds included a Baroque-style garden, which in the 19th century was transformed into a landscaped park. The garden includes large grass terraces and a shaped topiary hedge. The garden area in front of the palace building is framed by trees and a sculpted hills, which is accessible by trails. Under one of the lindens in the castle grounds is a memorial plaque to the poet Andersen, who is said to have worked there for many of his stories. Within the park, there are two summer-houses and outbuildings, which after the departure of the ducal family in 1848, were converted to public use. The House of Prince is a small, relatively spartan-appearing house. It was built in 1765 for Emil August, the younger brother of Duke Frederick Christian I. The red house served as a hermitage for Emil August who lived there until his death in 1786. The small estate was bequeathed to his sister, Christine Louise Caroline, for use in her lifetime. The palace church, which now serves as the parish church of Augustenborg, is open to the public in the summer months. Tours of the ducal apartments can be arranged by appointment.References:
Czocha Castle is located on the Lake Leśnia, what is now the Polish part of Upper Lusatia. Czocha castle was built on gneiss rock, and its oldest part is the keep, to which housing structures were later added.
Czocha Castle began as a stronghold, on the Czech-Lusatian border. Its construction was ordered by Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, in the middle of the 13th century (1241–1247). In 1253 castle was handed over to Konrad von Wallhausen, Bishop of Meissen. In 1319 the complex became part of the dukedom of Henry I of Jawor, and after his death, it was taken over by another Silesian prince, Bolko II the Small, and his wife Agnieszka. Origin of the stone castle dates back to 1329.
In the mid-14th century, Czocha Castle was annexed by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia. Then, between 1389 and 1453, it belonged to the noble families of von Dohn and von Kluks. Reinforced, the complex was besieged by the Hussites in the early 15th century, who captured it in 1427, and remained in the castle for unknown time (see Hussite Wars). In 1453, the castle was purchased by the family of von Nostitz, who owned it for 250 years, making several changes through remodelling projects in 1525 and 1611. Czocha's walls were strengthened and reinforced, which thwarted a Swedish siege of the complex during the Thirty Years War. In 1703, the castle was purchased by Jan Hartwig von Uechtritz, influential courtier of Augustus II the Strong. On August 17, 1793, the whole complex burned in a fire.
In 1909, Czocha was bought by a cigar manufacturer from Dresden, Ernst Gutschow, who ordered major remodelling, carried out by Berlin architect Bodo Ebhardt, based on a 1703 painting of the castle. Gutschow, who was close to the Russian Imperial Court and hosted several White emigres in Czocha, lived in the castle until March 1945. Upon leaving, he packed up the most valuable possessions and moved them out.
After World War II, the castle was ransacked several times, both by soldiers of the Red Army, and Polish thieves, who came to the so-called Recovered Territories from central and eastern part of the country. Pieces of furniture and other goods were stolen, and in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the castle was home to refugees from Greece. In 1952, Czocha was taken over by the Polish Army. Used as a military vacation resort, it was erased from official maps. The castle has been open to the public since September 1996 as a hotel and conference centre. The complex was featured in several movies and television series. Recently, the castle has been used as the setting of the College of Wizardry, a live action role-playing game (LARP) that takes place in their own universe and can be compared to Harry Potter.