Vallø traces its history back to the 14th century. From 1554 to 1651 it was divided into two separate estates, West Vallø and East Vallø. In 1708 Vallø was acquired by King Frederick IV who passed it on to Anne Sophie Reventlow. In 1731 King Christian VI passed the property on to Queen Sophia Magdalene who in 1737 founded the Noble Vallø Foundation for unmarried daughters.
Vallø consists of four wings with robust towers and is surrounded by a moat. The south wing, with its robust corner towers, and the south end of the west wing were built from 1580 to 1586 by Mette Rosenkrantz, one of the richest women in Denmark of her day. In Christen Skeel's time of ownership, from 1638 to 1659, the castle was expanded to three storeys and the west wing extended. The north wing was built by Johan Cornelius Krieger in 1721. A three-winged building designed by Lauritz de Thurah was built in the courtyard from 1735 to 1738. The surviving central wing expanded with an extra storey by Georg David Anthon in 1765. The castle was devastated by fire in 1893 but restored largely to its old design by Hans Jørgen Holm between 1893 and 1904.
The park was turned into a Romantic landscape garden in 1830 but retains elements from the former French gardens from the 1720s. I large flower park was founded in 1960 but it has later been disbanded. Next to castle and its park there is a cluster of historic houses arranged around a street known as Vallø Castle Street (Vallø Slotsgade). Vallø Castle Inn received a royal privilege in 1784. The estate also owns a variety of other houses spread out across the surrounding countryside.
The estate is still owned by the Vallø Foundation (da. Vallø Stift) and covers 4,109 hectares of land of which 1,860 hectares are woodlands. Apart from agriculture and forestry, the revenues derive from house rental, the inn, a campground located close to Køge, and hiring-out of hunting areas. The castle still provides housing for women of the Danish nobility but since 1976 admission to the residences is not restricted to unmarried women but now also cover widows and divorced women.References:
The Cathedral of Limburg is one of the best preserved late Romanesque style buildings. It is unknown When the first church was built above the Lahn river. Archaeological discoveries have revealed traces of a 9th-century church building in the area of the current chapel. It was probably built in Merovingian times as a castle and the chapel added in the early 9th century.
In 910 AD, Count Konrad Kurzbold (cousin of the future King Konrad I) founded a collegiate chapter of 18 canons, who lived according to the rule of Bishop Chrodegang of Metz, on the hilltop site. The original castle chapel was torn down and a three-aisled basilica was built in its place. The foundations of this basilica have been found beneath the present floor.
The construction of current cathedral is dated to 1180-90. The consecration was performed in 1235 by the archbishop of Trier. It seems certain that the cathedral was built in four stages. The first stage encompassed the west facade, the south side aisle, the choir and the transept up to the matroneum. This section forms the Conradine church. The second stage consisted of the addition of the inner pillars of the south nave. In this stage the bound system was first introduced. In the third phase, the matroneum in the southern nave was built. The fourth stage included the north side of the transept and the choir matroneum. By this stage Gothic influence is very clear.
The interior was destroyed by Swedish soldiers during the Thirty Years War (1618-48) and reconstructed in a late Baroque style in 1749. The Baroque renovation was heavy-handed: the surviving medieval stained glass windows were replaced; all the murals were covered up; the ribs of the vaults and columns of the arcades were painted blue and red; the capstones were gilded; the original high altar was replaced. The colorfully painted exterior was coated in plain white and the central tower was extended by 6.5 meters.
The collegiate chapter of Limburg was dissolved in 1803 during the Napoleonic period, but then raised to the rank of cathedral in 1827 when the bishopric of Limburg was founded. Some renovations in contemporary style followed: the walls were coated white, the windows were redone in blue and orange (the heraldic colors of the Duke of Nassau) and towers were added to the south transept (1865).
Further changes came after Limburg was incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia in 1866. It was now the Romantic period and the cathedral was accordingly restored to an idealized vision of its original Romanesque appearance. The exterior stonework was stripped of all its plaster and paint, to better conform with the Romantic ideal of a medieval church growing out of the rock. The Baroque interior was stripped away and the wall paintings were uncovered and repainted.
Further renovations came in 1934-35, enlightened by better knowledge of the original art and architecture. Art Nouveau stained glass windows were also added. A major restoration in 1965-90 included replastering and painting the exterior, both to restore it to its original appearance and to protect the stonework, which was rapidly deteriorating while exposed to the elements.
The interior is covered in medieval frescoes dating from 1220 to 1235. They are magnificent and important survivals, but time has not been terribly kind to them - they were whitewashed over in the Baroque period (1749) and uncovered and repainted with a heavy hand in the Romantic period (1870s) before finally being restored more sensitively in the 1980s.