Lahneck Castle was built in 1226 by the Archbishop of Mainz Siegfried III of Eppstein to protect his territory at the mouth of the Lahn, where the town of Oberlahnstein and a silver mine had come into the possession of the Archbishopric in 1220. The castle chapel, dedicated to Saint Ulrich of Augsburg, was built in 1245, in the same year the first Burggraf took up residence in the castle.
In 1298, King Adolf of Nassau was a guest at the castle, shortly before his death in the Battle of Göllheim against King Albert I of Habsburg. In order to avenge him, the Burggraf of Lahneck, Friedrich Schilling of Lahnstein, participated in a conspiracy against Albert. The castle was stormed in 1309 and Friedrich Schilling was executed.
According to legend, when the Knights Templar were ordered by Pope Clement V to disband in 1312, the last 12 Templars took refuge in the castle, where they perished in a heroic fight to the death with forces of Mainz Archbishop Peter of Aspelt. In 1332, Pope John XXII granted a 40-day indulgence to those attending services in the castle chapel.
In 1475, Mainz Archbishop Theodoric of Isenburg-Büdingen had the castle strengthened with two outer walls following the Mainz Bishops Feud with his rival archbishop, Adolph II of Nassau. In 1633, during the Thirty Years War, the castle was heavily damaged by Swedish and Imperial troops.
On July 18, 1774, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe wrote the poem Geistesgruß. It was inspired by the sight of Lahneck Castle during his travels along the Lahn River.
In the German Mediatisation of 1803, in which the Archbishopric of Mainz lost its secular territories, Lahneck Castle was granted to the Duchy of Nassau. In 1850 it was sold and has remained in private ownership since. Edward Moriarty, a Director of the Rhenish Railway Company, became one of its first owners. During the ownership of Earl Kleist-Tychow a more than life-sized portrait of Queen Victoria was presented which can still be seen at the castle. Imperial Admiral Robert Mischke, later commander of armoured cruiser 'von der Tann', purchased the castle in 1909 and it has been owned by his family ever since.References:
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.
Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.
In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.
The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.
In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.
After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.
In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.
Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.
In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.
In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.