The Clarissa (Poor Clares) order nunnery in Ribnitz was one of the last nunnerys or monasteries to be founded in the dutchy of Mecklenburg. In 1323, Duke Heinrich II von Mecklenburg bequeathed to the Franciscans his court stronghold in the southeast of the town of Ribnitz. The first four nuns arrived from the Clarissa nunnery in the Westphalian town of Weißenfels. In 1330, the nunnery is consecrated, while today's church facility was begun in 1361, and was consecrated in 1393.
The church is a broad, vaulted Brick Gothic hall composed of six narrow right angled bays supported by inwards-facing support pillars lacking a fixed ambulatory. The church is flanked at its east and west gables by a small tower. In the east of the nave, a wooden gallery for the nuns remains today, having preserved much of its original form, most notably nuns' stalls installed ca. 1400.
The nunnery church is the last remaining building of the late medieval nunnery site still remaining largely intact in tis original form. Its interior was rebuilt in 1840 in a neo-Gothic style.
During the Reformation Ribnitz Abbey was turned into an aristocratic convent. The transfer of the contents of the convent to the Duke and the devestating consequences of the 30 Years' War led to the collapse of the convent.
In 2006, restoration work on the former forewoman's house was completed. Today, the Ribnitz-Damgarten German Museum of Amber is housed in this and adjoining buildings. During restoration work the remains of the north wall of the dormitory where discovered, which have now been excavated and can be seen by visitors. The convent houses are today in demand apartments; the presence of the Museum, the town library, the Nunnery Gallery and the town archive have converted the nunnery site into a cultural centre of the town.
The nunnery still houses a number of outstanding wooden icons, the so-called 'Ribnitz Madonnas'. The figures were originally part of the nunnery church's altars, and were made over several centuries, from the start of the 14th century through to the first half of the 16th. They are of outstanding quality, having largely preserved their authentic original colour scheme.References:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.