Ahrensbök Charterhouse was a former Carthusian monastery or charterhouse established in 1397. The estates with which it was endowed reached as far as Scharbeutz on the Bay of Lübeck.
During the Reformation the monastery was secularised, and with its estates fell into the hands of John II, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg, in 1584, who had the buildings demolished.
The building materials were used between 1593 and 1601 for the construction of the castle in Ahrensbök, Schloss Hoppenbrook, which was the principal residence between 1623 and 1636 of the ruler of the newly formed Duchy of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Plön while Duke Joachim Ernst I's new castle in Plön was under construction. Once Schloss Plön was finished, the ducal residence was moved there from Ahrensbök, leaving Schloss Hoppenbrook as a secondary residence.
After the death there in 1740 of Duchess Juliane Luise, widow of Joachim Frederick, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Plön, Schloss Hoppenbrook was demolished. The Rathaus of Ahrensbök now stands on its site, in a park in which ditches from the previous castle complex can still be made out.
The only surviving building from the time of the Carthusians is the Brick Gothic St. Mary's church - Marienkirche - which in fact was begun in the first quarter of the 14th century and thus predates the monastery itself: when the charterhouse was established it was taken over for use as the monastery church. It was extended several times, and in 1400 the polygonal quire was added. The tower, with an inscribed sandstone tablet over the portal, was not added until 1761.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.