Pyhäniemi is one of the most culturally significant manor milieus in Finland. The history of Pyhäniemi manor dates back to the year 1467. During the 16th and 17th centuries it became a very remarkable horse farm. In 1780 Gustav III, the king of Sweden, ordered to construct a new main building and donated Pyhäniemi to his general Carl Johan Schmiedefelt. The end of the 19th century was the heyday of Pyhäniemi Manor. The householder Oscar Collin owned 10000 hectacres farm and 250 cows. The manor had also a sawmill and a wheelworks. In 1912 Collin lost the Pyhäniemi Manor in a gamble to Dutchman Hendrik Max Gilse van der Pals in Monte Carlo Casino. The manor of was the residence of Van der Pals until 1919.
In 1930s Pyhäniemi was a site for filming for the Suomi-Filmi studios and it was called as the "Hollywood in Hollola". During the Winter War (1939-1940) Pyhäniemi manor was used as the base of Finland Air Force operating from the lake nearby.
The two-storey main building is from the 1820s and its present appearance dates from renovation carried out in 1907. The large auxiliary building flanking the yard was built in the 1880s. The manor is surrounded by a park and a tree-lined lane leads to the main building. Today the manor offers art exhibitions, high-class concerts and conference services.
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).