Pavlo-Obnorsky Monastery was founded by Pavel of Obnora in 1414. In the 17th century, this was one of the most influential monasteries in Russia. The monastery was abolished in 1924 and reestablished in 1994. As of 2011, it was one of the four acting monasteries in Vologda Oblast.
The monastery was founded by Pavel of Obnora. Pavel was looking for a remote place, and the area in the 15th century was covered by dense forests. The rules of the monastery, established by Pavel, were very strict by Russian standards. The first hegumen of the monastery was Alexios, a disciple of Pavel, and Pavel himself never took any formal role in the monastery. Some of the icons by Dionisius, one of the most famous Russian icon painters, were made in the monastery and have been preserved in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. In 1538, the monastery was destroyed by Tatars. It was rebuilt, and the existing ensemble of the monastery was formed in the 16th-18th centuries. The idea was to build an image of New Jerusalem. To this end, two artificial hills were erected, one with a church and another one with a chapel. The monastery was abolished in 1924. The buildings were used to host a school, an orphanage, and a sanatorium. It was reestablished in 1994 as a metochion of the Spaso-Prilutsky Monastery. In 2003, the Pavlo-Obnorsky Monastery became an independent entity.
The ensemble of the monastery was pretty much neglected after the monastery was abolished in 1926. The restoration works started in 1990s. The ensemble consists of The Assumption Church (1867), The Resurrection Church (1862) and temporary wooden chapels. The Trinity Church, built between 1505 and 1516, has been demolished. The ensemble of the monastery, as well as separate buildings, are protected as cultural monuments of local significance.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.