Lyse Abbey was founded in 1146 by Sigurd, Bishop of Bergen, on farmland that he owned, as the Christianisation of Norway was nearing completion. The first monks were brought from Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire, England. This was the first Cistercian monastery in Norway and was modelled on others built in England and France.
As with all Cistercians, the monks took a vow of poverty. Renouncing all sources of income except from farming, they developed considerable skill in farming operations and management. Over time, this led to the abbey acquiring many other farms in the area, making it ever more rich and powerful. In all, the monastery had about 50 other farms in Os with at least as many more in other areas.
The abbey was dissolved in 1537 when Christian III of Denmark decreed Lutheranism to be the state religion of Norway. The abbey’s possessions were confiscated, becoming the property of the King. Over the next two centuries, the stones of the monastery structures were gradually removed and contributed to buildings such as the Rosenkrantz Tower in Bergen, and Kronborg Castle in Helsingør in Denmark. Some stones were shipped as far as Germany.
The ruins are protected as a national monument and archaeological work to preserve and record the site continues. The monastery is a well-visited tourist site with good nature walks nearby. It is common for couples today to be married at the ruins, or at least to have wedding photographs taken there.References:
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.