The Stiftskirche (Collegiate Church) is the main church of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church in Württemberg. Structures of a small Romanesque church from the 10th and 11th centuries could recently be traced as having been exactly in today's church outline.
In 1240, a stately three-naved church with two towers was built in the Romanic style, apparently by the Counts of Württemberg who from around that time were residing in the nearby Old Castle. From the end of the 13th century a double tomb is preserved in today's South tower chapel. It contains the remains of Ulrich I, Count of Württemberg and his second wife, Countess of Württemberg, Agnes von Schlesien-Liegnitz (both died in 1265).
With Stuttgart the new residence of the rulers of Württemberg, a new Gothic chancel was built from 1321 to 1347. To it was added a Late Gothic nave in the second half of the 15th century by Ulrich V. In 1500, a coloured, later (from the 19th century) golden pulpit was added.
With the adoption of the Lutheran Protestant Reformation in Württemberg in 1534, all pictures and altars were removed from the naves, pewage and a gallery were added. The tombstones were moved to the interior of the church. From 1574, small statues of all the Counts of Württemberg (i.e. since Ulrich I) were added at the North wall of the chancel.
In 1608, a new grave crypt or burial vault was added. All of the Württemberg rulers until 1677 were buried there. Catherine Pavlovna of Russia, Queen of Württemberg from 1816 until 1819, was buried here from 1819 to 1824, before her remains were brought to a mausoleum on the Württemberg mountain.
In 1826, the roof of the chancel was renovated, as was most of the interior of the church in the 1840s.Towards the end of the Second World War, the church was heavily destroyed by the bombing raids on Stuttgart in 1944. In the 1950s, the church was restored, however, not in all historical detail.References:
The Château d'Olhain is probably the most famous castle of the Artois region. It is located in the middle of a lake which reflects its picturesque towers and curtain walls. It was also a major stronghold for the Artois in medieval times and testimony to the power of the Olhain family, first mentioned from the 12th century.
The existence of the castle was known early in the 13th century, but the present construction is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain at the end of the 15th century.
The marriage of Alix Nielles to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France (master of hounds) to the King, meant the castle passed to this family, who kept it for more than 450 years. Once confiscated by Charles Quint, it suffered during the wars that ravaged the Artois. Besieged in 1641 by the French, it was partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and finally blown-up and taken by the Dutch in 1710. Restored in 1830, it was abandoned after 1870, and sold by the last Prince of Berghes in 1900. There is also evidence that one of the castles occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the person Alexandre Dumas based his Three Musketeers charictor d'Artagnan on.
During the World War I and World War II, the castle was requisitioned first by French troops, then Canadian and British soldiers. The current owner has restored the castle to its former glory.