Jomfruens Egede Manor

Faxe, Denmark

Jomfruens Egede manor house owes its current appearance to Sophie Amalie Moth who in the late 18th century altered it with the assistance of Caspar Frederik Harsdorff and Joseph Christian Lillie. The National Museum of Denmark has described it as possibly the finest example from the period.

Jomfruens Egede traces its history back to 1346 when it was owned by Uffe Pedersen Neb, a loyal supporter of King Valdemar IV, and known as Egedegaard. In 1674 the estate was acquired by King Christian V's mistress, Sophie Amalie Moth, who received official recognition and was appointed Countess of Samsø on 31 December 1677. After Christian V's death in 1699 she retired to the estate where she led a quiet life until her own death in 1719. The property was then owned by their son, Ulrik Christian Gyldenløve, Count of Samsø.

After different owners Jomfruens Egede came to Niels Schack-Rathlou, whose son Christian Schack-Rathlou in the 1790s carried out an expansion and adapted the design of the house with the assistance of the architects Caspar Frederik Harsdorff and Joseph Christian Lillie. In 1740, Jomfruens Egede was bought by Claus Benedix Beenfeldt who already owned nearby Lystrup Castle. Since that time the two estates have been under the same ownership.

In 1931 the estate was bought by Count Adam Wilhelm Moltke who had inherited Bregentved from hus father in 1818 and would later become the first Danish Prime Minister after the adoption of the Constitution of Denmark in 1849. Moltke increased his holdings through several other acquisitions, acting as curator of Vallø and Vemmetofte and managing Knuthenborg for Count Frederik Marcus Knuth, the underage nephew of his wife. As a result, he administrated one of the largest complexes of land in the country at the time. When Christian Moltke inherited Lystrup and Jomfruens Egede from his father, he disrupted his diplomatic career which had brought him to both London and Vienna to concentrate on the management of his estates. Jomfruens Egede has remained in the possession of the Moltke family to this day.

Designed in the Neoclassical style, Jomfruens Egede consists of two parallel wings which to the south border on the churchyard of Østre Egede Church. The house is particularly noted for its interiors which the National Museum of Denmark has described as 'possibly the finest example of Danish interior design and furnishings of the late 18th century'.

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Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.