Stolpe Abbey was the first monastery in Pomerania. Ratibor I, Duke of Pomerania, founded the abbey on 3 May 1153 in memory of his brother Wartislaw I. Wartislaw, who had subdued the area and converted its people to Christianity in the late 1120s, was killed near the site of the future monastery; according to legend he was murdered by a Liutician pagan.
The abbey was settled by Benedictine monks from Berge Abbey near Magdeburg. The Pomeranian dukes and the Counts of Gützkow granted the new foundation extensive lands in the vicinity. In 1164, a meeting between the Duke of Saxony, Henry the Lion, and King Valdemar I of Denmark was held here.
In 1304, the abbey became part of the Cistercian Order, and was made a daughter house of Pforta Abbey. In 1305, Kärkna Abbey (also known as Falkenau Abbey) and in 1319 Padise Abbey, both in Estonia, were put under the authority of Stolpe.
In 1534, Stolpe Abbey was dissolved in the course of the Protestant Reformation. The Thirty Years' War made a battleground of Stolpe and left the abbey buildings in ruins.References:
Ceský Sternberk Castle is an early Gothic castle which was constructed, named and still owned by members of the same family. Today it is a residence that bears a long historical and architectural heritage and represents an attractive tourist destination open to the public. It is considered one of the best preserved Gothic Bohemian castles.
The castle was initially built in 1241 by Zdeslav of Divisov, later called Zdeslav Sternberg. The development of new firearms in the 14th century posed an unexpected threat to the defensibility of the castle. Its 13th century architects hadn't foreseen the danger of long-range firearms and its reinforcement became a necessity. During this period the Ceský Sternberk castle's fortifications were improved through the construction in the north of a three-story tower, which was connected to the castle by a rampart. In 1467 the castle was seized by the royal armies of George of Podébrady. Later, the ruined castle was regained by Sternberk's aristocracy, who, by the turn of the 15th to 16th century, had reconstructed the castle, renewed its defensive system and expanded it with the construction of a new cylindrical tower in the south and the Dungeon in the north. The castle managed to survive the looting of the rebels in 1627, during the Thirty Years' War. With the death of Jan Václav in 1712, the Holicý branch of the Sternberg family died out and its ownership passed to other families, who in 1751 built the lower palace next to the surrounding wall.
The ownership of the castle was returned to the Sternberg family in 1841 when Zdenék of Sternberg from the Konopisté branch of the family bought it. It remained in Sternberg's ownership until 1949 when it was nationalized by the Communist government of the Republic of Czechoslovakia. After the fall of Communism and the Velvet Revolution, in 1992, Ceský Sternberk castle returned to Jirí's son, the count Zdenék Sternberg, the current owner of the castle.
Ceský Sternberk Castle was originally built as a Gothic castle. Eventually it underwent several periods of reconstructions and further fortification and the Gothic architectural features were in parts concealed by the new reconstructions. Especially the interiors of the castle were realized under the Baroque and Rococo styles. In 1760, the master Carlo Brentano performed the elaborate stuccoing and renderings of the halls' interiors. The castle offers a rare collection of 545 copper engravings, depicting the entire history of the Thirty Years' War. Also, historical weapons and hunting trophies are exhibited within the castle's halls.