The Church of St. Andrew was built between 1079 and 1098 by a medieval Polish statesman Palatine Sieciech. It is a rare surviving example of the European fortress church used for defensive purposes.
Built in Romanesque style, it is one of the oldest buildings in Kraków and one of the best-preserved Romanesque buildings in Poland. It was the only church in Kraków to withstand the Mongol attack of 1241. Along the lower part of the broader section of its façade are small openings that served as defensive windows at a time when the church was a place of refuge from military assaults.
From 1320 it was used by the Religious Order of Poor Clares. The building has been renovated many times. The present Baroque interiors have decorations by Baltazar Fontana, paintings by Karol Dankwart and gilded altars. The Baroque domes atop the octagonal towers were added in 1639.
The massive building was constructed from stone blocks towards the end of the 11th century, and also fulfilled important defensive functions. The two octagonal looking towers, with the doubled arcade windows are perfect examples and characteristic of Romanesque architecture. They extend high over the body of the church. The apse decorated with a modest arcade freeze and numerous details (including stairs and window frames) maintain the same character.
The structure was probably expanded, extended and strengthened up until the mid-12th century. The church successfully withstood the Tatar-Mongol raid of 1241, providing shelter for the majority of residents and inhabitants of the city. At that time, it was – quite rightly – called “the lower castle” to be distinguished from the nearby “upper” standing on top of the Wawel Hill. It was also sometimes referred to as the second church of Kraków after the Wawel Cathedral. In 1320, the church was entrusted to the Order of Poor Clares, whose convent was built south of the church. Also the brick, Gothic oratorio that today plays the role of the sacristy dates back to that period.
The baroque decoration of the interior, with rich stucco decoration by Italian painter and architect Baldassare 'Baltazar' Fontana, comes from the refurbishment that took place after 1700, while the construction of the high altar, attributed to Francesco Placidi was initiated in the upcoming years. Attention is drawn to the pulpit in the shape of a boat, and the musical choir with 18th-century organ in the chancel, decorated in the rococo manner. The baroque steeples added in 1639 contrast with the severity of the Romanesque form of the church.References:
Glimmingehus is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).
Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.
Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.
An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.
On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".