As early as at the end of XIII century, there was a Slavic settlement on the island nearby the place of current Szczecinek Castle. The border nature of the settlement and its excellent defensive qualities contributed to the decision made around the year 1310 by Duke Warcislaw IV to build there a castle. This way the castle of Szczecinek became the seat of Starostes who in the name of the duke held the power here. First of them was Otto von Wedel. At the same time, the settlement on the mainland was awarded town privileges.
The location of the castle in Szczecinek was also affected by building a fortress in Czluchow by the Teutonic Knights and the growing threat from the Teutonic Order and Brandenburg. In 1356, the buildings from the times of Wartislaw IV were dismantled and a new castle was built from the obtained material, this time fully made of bricks. At the very beginning, the castle consisted essentially only of the south wing. The courtyard was surrounded by a wall and all the buildings were settled in a rectangle related plan.
The gate was facing the city, which means it was north-facing. The wooden bridge supported by characteristic piles, known for the later drawings, connected it with the mainland. The construction of the castle was carried out until the year 1364. However, there were a few interruptions. The first one took place when the border of the Teutonic Knights state was moved, as a result of which Szczecinek partly lost its military and strategic importance. However, by the end of XIV century, the works resumed and even another floor of the main wing was built.
The north wing which included the entrance gate was probably built during the expansion carried out in the years 1459-1474, at the times of Duke Eric II. The building had three floors and there was a four-sided tower at the eastern corner. In the years 1606-1610, Duke Philip II rebuilt the south wing giving it a shape typical of Renaissance architecture. In 1619, Duke Ulrich erected in place of the dismantled north wing a new one, which survived until 1801. Another reconstructions took place in 1690 and 1780. The building was also reconstructed several times during XIX and XX century. In 1653 the castle was taken over by Brandenburg and as a result it began to fall into decline. In the years 1780 to 1793 it housed Frederick the Great's abdominal belts manufacture. In the years 1800-1880, in turn, it served as hospital and poorhouse. During World War II, if you believe some stories, the castle was a Gestapo torture chamber in which, among others, soldiers of Battalion 'Odra' were interrogated.
After the war, the army occupied the castle and later it served as Jantarii travel lodge. In 2011, the Municipal Office of Szczecinek began a comprehensive revitalisation of the historic south wing of the castle, which will serve as a training and conference center.References:
The Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc is a Baroque monument built in 1716–1754 in honour of God. The main purpose was a spectacular celebration of Catholic Church and faith, partly caused by feeling of gratitude for ending a plague, which struck Moravia between 1713 and 1715. The column was also understood to be an expression of local patriotism, since all artists and master craftsmen working on this monument were Olomouc citizens, and almost all depicted saints were connected with the city of Olomouc in some way. The column is the biggest Baroque sculptural group in the Czech Republic. In 2000 it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
The column is dominated by gilded copper sculptures of the Holy Trinity accompanied by the Archangel Gabriel on the top and the Assumption of the Virgin beneath it.
The base of the column, in three levels, is surrounded by 18 more stone sculptures of saints and 14 reliefs in elaborate cartouches. At the uppermost stage are saints connected with Jesus’ earth life – his mother’s parents St. Anne and St. Joachim, his foster-father St. Joseph, and St. John the Baptist, who was preparing his coming – who are accompanied by St. Lawrence and St. Jerome, saints to whom the chapel in the Olomouc town hall was dedicated. Three reliefs represent the Three theological virtues Faith, Hope, and Love.
Below them, the second stage is dedicated to Moravian saints St. Cyril and St. Methodius, who came to Great Moravia to spread Christianity in 863, St. Blaise, in whose name one of the main Olomouc churches is consecrated, and patrons of neighbouring Bohemia St. Adalbert of Prague and St. John of Nepomuk, whose following was very strong there as well.
In the lowest stage one can see the figures of an Austrian patron St. Maurice and a Bohemian patron St. Wenceslas, in whose names two important Olomouc churches were consecrated, another Austrian patron St. Florian, who was also viewed as a protector against various disasters, especially fire, St. John of Capistrano, who used to preach in Olomouc, St. Anthony of Padua, a member of the Franciscan Order, which owned an important monastery in Olomouc, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a patron of students. His sculpture showed that Olomouc was very proud of its university. Reliefs of all twelve apostles are placed among these sculptures.
The column also houses a small chapel inside with reliefs depicting Cain's offering from his crop, Abel's offering of firstlings of his flock, Noah's first burnt offering after the Flood, Abraham's offering of Isaac and of a lamb, and Jesus' death. The cities of Jerusalem and Olomouc can be seen in the background of the last mentioned relief.