Nyborg Castle was first mentioned in 1193, but the town itself was not mentioned before the year 1202. There must have been wooden or half-timbered buildings inside the walls, but we have not, as yet, found traces of them. The fortress was built on a small hill. Archaeological excavations have shown that the first moat around the fortress was a dry moat. In the first half of the 1200's, a palace was built along the western ring wall of the Nyborg fortress. The most recent excavations show that a corresponding stone building was raised along the north wall and they were connected. The palace building was the finer of the two, built of bricks in two stories, and still exists in the remaining wing. There is a small, blocked-off arched window and an arched door leading to the cellar, which belong to the palace. In the preserved building, the king met with his parliament. Apparently the royal council and later the Danehof (parliament) met on the second floor.
Countless important events happened at the Danehof (Danish Parliament) gatherings in Nyborg. In 1276, King Erik Klipping succeeded in getting the nobles to acknowledge his little son, Erik Menved, as the heir to the throne. In 1282, Erik Klipping issued his coronation charter, also called Denmark's first constitution. In 1287, the same king's murderers were sentenced at Nyborg, including Chamberlain Stig, the only one of the Danehof nobles who hadn't voted for Erik Menved as Erik Klipping's successor.
During the almost 200 years that Nyborg Castle was the seat of the Danehof. The castle grew and changed in appearance. To the east, there is a large tower called Knud's Tower; now only the lower part is preserved. It was in all likelihood built in the 1300's. Around 1400 there was a building project that led to great expansion of the castle. The palace had a story added, making it 3 stories high. Shortly after that, the palace was extended to the south wall.
In the 1520's, King Frederik I was urged to make Nyborg is residence. It is unclear whether he actually did so, but there is evidence that he planned to. He had the west wing renovated, adding large, arched windows. Inside, several of the rooms were decorated with wall paintings of geometric patterns and a new ceiling construction.
In the 17th century, Nyborg was one of three major, fortified towns in Denmark, together with Fredericia and Copenhagen. Each was placed near an important body of water - in Nyborg's case, the Great Belt (Storebælt). In 1659 the city was captured by the Swedes and relieved by an expeditionary fleet sent by the Dutch, then Denmark's allies, commanded by admiral De Ruyter.
In 1867 the fortress was abolished and the town expanded beyond the ramparts. Much of the town's southern ramparts were destroyed in this process and converted into residential areas. The western and much of the northern ramparts still exist and form the scene of an annual theatre known as Nyborg Voldspil, which is Denmark's oldest outdoor theater.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).