Lubiąż Abbey, also commonly known as Leubus Abbey, is a former Cistercian monastery. The abbey, established in 1175, is one of the largest Christian architectural complexes in the world and is considered a masterpiece of Baroque Silesian architecture.
The abbey is situated near a ford across the Oder river, where a Benedictine monastery and church of Saint James may have been established about 1150, but had already been abandoned before 1163. At this time the area belonged to the Duchy of Silesia, bequeathed by Duke Bolesław III Wrymouth of Poland to his eldest son Władysław II in 1138. In a fratricidal conflict of the Polish Piast dynasty, Władysław was expelled by his younger brother and fled to Altenburg in the Holy Roman Empire. With the aid by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, however, his sons were restored to their Silesian heritage in 1163.
Władysław's eldest son, Duke Bolesław I the Tall, had spent several years in German exile. When he assumed the rule of Lower Silesia, he invited Cistercian monks from Pforta Abbey on the Saale River (in present-day Thuringia) and settled them in Lubiąż as the first of their order in Silesia. The first monastery complex was under construction up to 1175, when Duke Bolesław I issued the official foundation charter at Grodziec Castle. Through drainage works the monks reclaimed land in the swampy environs of the monastery, implemented three-field crop rotation and laid out vineyards. Their efforts were successful and marked the beginning of the medieval German Ostsiedlung to Silesia.
About 1200 the abbey church was rebuilt, at that time the first Brick Gothic building in the region. When Duke Bolesław I died in 1201, he was buried here. The rise of Leubus continued under the rule of his son Duke Henry I the Bearded and his consort Hedwig of Andechs. In 1202 the couple established Trzebnica Abbey, which in 1220 became a daughter house of Leubus by order of Pope Honorius III. It was followed by the establishment in 1222 of Mogiła Abbey in Lesser Poland and Henryków Abbey in 1227. In 1249 the monks of Leubus took over the former Augustinian abbey of Kamieniec and in 1256 even established a monastery at Byszewo in Kuyavia, relocated to Koronowo in 1288.
From 1249 to 1844, the place held town privileges. In 1327 the Silesian duke Henry VI the Good declared himself a vassal of King John of Bohemia, and when he died without male heirs in 1335, his lands including Leubus fell to the Kingdom of Bohemia. The monastery complex was devastated by the Hussite Wars, and furthermore the monks were expelled by warlike Duke Jan II the Mad in 1492, who turned the abbey into a hunting lodge. The Cistercians were not able to return until Jan II retired to Frankfurt an der Oder in Brandenburg. In the 16th century the abbey had to deal with the Protestant Reformation and the inheritance of the Lands of the Bohemian Crown by the Austrian House of Habsburg. During the Thirty Years' War, Leubus was occupied and plundered by Swedish troops in 1638.
The Cistercians were expelled from Lubiąż in 1810 by King Frederick William III of Prussia.
During World War II, the buildings of the former abbey were used for secret research laboratories and manufacturing facilities, among other things for the development of radar components. The engines for V1 and V2 rockets (using prisoners for labour) were manufactured in Lubiąż. At the end of the war, the former abbey housed soldiers of the Red Army, and then a Russian military psychiatric hospital, with significant damage. Decades of neglect followed.
Since 1989, the abbey has been under renovation and has become a significant tourist destination.
The area of the roofs is about 25,000 square metres. The façade, with a length of 223 m, is the longest in Europe after that of El Escorial in Spain. In the crypts are 98 well-preserved mummies of Silesian dukes.References:
Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457.
Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only made from earth and wood, Pembroke Castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the next 30 years. The castle was established at the heart of the Norman-controlled lands of southwest Wales.
When William Rufus died, Arnulf de Montgomery joined his elder brother, Robert of Bellême, in rebellion against Henry I, William's brother and successor as king; when the rebellion failed, he was forced to forfeit all his British lands and titles. Henry appointed his castellan, but when the chosen ally turned out to be incompetent, the King reappointed Gerald in 1102. By 1138 King Stephen had given Pembroke Castle to Gilbert de Clare who used it as an important base in the Norman invasion of Ireland.
In August 1189 Richard I arranged the marriage of Isabel, de Clare's granddaughter, to William Marshal who received both the castle and the title, Earl of Pembroke. He had the castle rebuilt in stone and established the great keep at the same time. Marshal was succeeded in turn by each of his five sons. His third son, Gilbert Marshal, was responsible for enlarging and further strengthening the castle between 1234 and 1241.
Later de Valence family held Pembroke for 70 years. During this time, the town was fortified with defensive walls, three main gates and a postern. Pembroke Castle became de Valence's military base for fighting the Welsh princes during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295.
Pembroke Castle then reverted to the crown. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was a place of peace until the outbreak of the English Civil War. Although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven. Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew.
In 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War, Pembroke's commander Colonel John Poyer led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke on 24 May 1648 and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their purposes.
The castle was then abandoned and allowed to decay. It remained in ruins until 1880, when a three-year restoration project was undertaken. Nothing further was done until 1928, when Major-General Sir Ivor Philipps acquired the castle and began an extensive restoration of the castle's walls, gatehouses, and towers. After his death, a trust was set up for the castle, jointly managed by the Philipps family and Pembroke town council.
The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by the Milford Haven Waterway. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.
In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. He soon became Lord Marshal of England, and set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral staircase connected its four stories. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.
The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of the wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward. The 13th century keep is 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base.
In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward, including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral staircase was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, a barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.
The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, a barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.
Although Pembroke Castle is a Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, it can be more accurately described as a linear fortification because, like the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, it was built on a rocky promontory surrounded by water. This meant that attacking forces could only assault on a narrow front. Architecturally, Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, with Pembroke River providing a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter.