Säckingen Abbey is a former Roman Catholic abbey founded in the 6th or 7th century by Fridolin of Säckingen, an Irish monk. While the Abbey had both monks and nuns, only the nuns' convent grew to be an important religious, economic and cultural institution for the entire upper Rhine.
Little is known about the early history of the Abbey before the 9th century. On 10 February 878, the Emperor Charles the Fat gave his wife Richardis the monasteries of Säckingen, of St. Felix and of Regula in Zurich as a royal estate. This grant included extensive political rights and a large estate, which covered land in the Rhine and Frick valleys, the southern Hotzenwald, and lands in Zurich along Lake Walen and the valley of Glarus.
In 1173 Emperor Frederick Barbarossa granted rights to the Imperial bailiwick of Säckingen Abbey to Count Albert III of Habsburg. This was the foundation for the development of Habsburg territorial sovereignty over Säckingen. In 1307 the abbess of Säckingen was elevated to the rank of Reichsfürst or Imperial Prince. In 1395, the Glarus valley broke away from the Abbey and became independent, yet retained the image of St. Fridolin as the coat of arms of their canton.
Between 1565 and 1575 the Abbey buildings were renovated and expanded. Then, in 1806 the Abbey was closed. On 12 June 1806, representatives of twelve German princes met with Napoleon to form the Confederation of the Rhine. As part of the agreement, the Abbey was closed and all the Abbey's property was transferred to the Grand Duke of Baden.
As of 2010 the buildings are used by the Caritas Catholic charity as a community center.References:
Eketorp is an Iron Age fort in southeastern Öland, which was extensively reconstructed and enlarged in the Middle Ages. Throughout the ages the fortification has served a variety of somewhat differing uses: from defensive ringfort, to medieval safe haven and thence a cavalry garrison. In the 20th century it was further reconstructed to become a heavily visited tourist site and a location for re-enactment of medieval battles. Eketorp is the only one of the 19 known prehistoric fortifications on Öland that has been completely excavated, yielding a total of over 24,000 individual artifacts. The entirety of southern Öland has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The Eketorp fortification is often referred to as Eketorp Castle.
The indigenous peoples of the Iron Age constructed the original fortification about 400 AD, a period known to have engendered contact between Öland natives with Romans and other Europeans. The ringfort in that era is thought to have been a gathering place for religious ceremonies and also a place of refuge for the local agricultural community when an outside enemy appeared. The circular design was believed to be chosen because the terrain is so level that attack from any side was equally likely. The original diameter of this circular stone fortification was about 57 metres. In the next century the stone was moved outward to construct a new circular structure of about 80 metres in diameter. At this juncture there were known to be about fifty individual cells or small structures within the fort as a whole. Some of these cells were in the center of the fortified ring, and some were actually built into the wall itself.
In the late 600s AD the ringfort was mysteriously abandoned, and it remained unused until the early 11th century. This 11th century work generally built upon the earlier fort, except that stone interior cells were replaced with timber structures, and a second outer defensive wall was erected.
Presently the fort is used as a tourist site for visitors to Öland to experience a medieval fortification for this region. A museum within the castle walls displays a few of the large number of artefacts retrieved by the National Heritage Board during the major decade long excavation ending in 1974. Inside the fort visitors are greeted by actors in medieval costumes who assume the roles of period artisans and merchants who might have lived there nine centuries earlier. There are also re-enactment scenes of skirmishes and other dramatic events of daily life from the Middle Ages.
Eketorp lies a few kilometers west of Route 136. There is an ample unpaved parking area situated approximately two kilometers west of the paved Öland perimeter highway. There is also a gift shop on site. During peak summer visitation, there are guided tours available. Visitors are assessed an admission charge.