Veste Landskron is a Renaissance water castle built between 1576 and 1579. The construction was started by Ulrich II von Schwerin, member of one of the oldest Pomeranian noble houses. The castle deteriorated due to the impact of the Thirty Years' War, during which the villages around Landskron were burned down, and mismanagement. When the owner Georg Ernst died in 1651, Landskron was inherited by his daughter Anna, who married the Swedish noble von Anrieppe. Their daughter Agnes von Anrieppe married Jürgen von Pentz, who soon abandoned Landskron and in 1699 sold it to Philipp von Schwerin, a nephew of Otto von Schwerin, advisor of the Brandenburgian elector, for 13,000 thalers. Philipp von Schwerin did not rebuild the castle, which had further detoriorated during the Scanian War, but moved his residence to nearby Rehberg.
The ruins of the castle have attracted tourists since the 19th century. In 1852, a tavern was built on the ruins of the kitchen building in the courtyard. This building was occupied until the 1960s, but subsequently demolished. Today, it is a tourist attraction and used as a site for concerts and other events.
The rectangular main building, a keep about 25 metres long and 15 metres wide with three upper stories and a basement, was secured by four round towers attached to its edges, a wall and a moat. One of the keep's towers (Hungerturm) was used as a dungeon to incarcerate abducted people held for ransom. Attached to the keep's eastern front was the entrance building. In front of the entrance to the keep, which could be reached by a drawbridge, laid the courtyard, and both the keep and the courtyard were surrounded by an outer wall and another moat.
In the west, the outer wall was immediately adjacent to the inner moat and comprised five small bastions. The castle was entered through a gatehouse in the northern outer wall, comprising a guardhouse west of the gateway that led to the courtyard, and the stables in its eastern part, where also a well was located. A second drawbridge, made from copper according to legend, spanned the outer moat in front of the gatehouse. Two other separate buildings stood on the courtyard - a chapel to the south and a kitchen to the east. The castle was finished in 1579.
The initial and still most widely used name of the castle was Landskron ('Land's Crown'). Legend tells that the name was frowned upon by the Pomeranian duke, who pressured Ulrich to rename it Lanzkron ('Lance's Crown'), which is also in use as an alternative name.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).