The early history of the Zirc monastery is obscure as regards both names and dates, on account of its being so often referred to under both these titles: whether Zirc and Boccon were separate abbeys cannot now be definitely determined. It seems most probable that the foundation was made by Béla III, King of Hungary (1182), as the monastic domain was formerly a royal farm. Besides this grant, on which now stands the city of Zirc, many other donations were made to the nascent abbey, which soon became one of the most celebrated in the country. It was rich not only in temporal possessions but also in the spirit of fervor and religious regularity. In 1232 the foundation of Kutjevo Abbey in the present Croatia was made from Zirc, which became its mother-house.
This happy state continued for three centuries, but decadence set in before the end of the fifteenth century, and by 1526 the ravages of the Ottoman invasion of Hungary had depopulated the monastery, not one religious remaining at the end of the year. The buildings and possessions passed into the hands of laymen.
In the seventeenth century (1609) it was acquired by Canon Mihály Monoszlay. Thenceforth it remained the property of ecclesiastics, and in 1659 it was given to Holweis, Abbot of the Cistercian Lilienfeld Abbey, who appointed Márton Újfalusy (1660) its abbot, thus reviving it. From the jurisdiction of Lilienfeld it was transferred successively to that of Klostermarienberg Abbey (1678) and Heinrichau Abbey (1700). From the latter abbey came a number of religious who gradually restored first the monastic buildings and church (consecrated 1745) and then regular observance in its primitive vigour.
In 1810 the community, in common with many others, was expelled, but was restored in 1814 under Abbot Antonius Dreta, from which time the abbey prospered more than ever before. Under his administration the abbeys at Pilis and Pásztó were united to Zirc, as was likewise, in 1878, the abbey at Szentgotthárd. In 1923 the Congregation of Zirc was established.
Zirc Abbey was dissolved in 1950, and its church became a parish church. The monastery was re-established in 1989 and maintains residences in Eger, Baja, Budapest, Pécs and Székesfehérvár.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.