Hohenstaufen Castle was seat of the now-defunct House of Hohenstaufen. The castle was built around 1070 by Frederick I of Hohenstaufen (even before he became Duke of Swabia), as a fortress to protect family interests in the vicinity. Until the 13th century, the castle was a possession of the imperial and royal family, the Hohenstaufen dynasty. In 1181, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa stayed there; in 1208, Irene Angelina, the widow of Barbarossa"s son, the recently murdered Philip of Swabia, died at Hohenstaufen Castle.
After the fall of the Hohenstaufen in 1268, the castle was declared an imperial possession by the Habsburg king Rudolf I of Germany. The strategically and symbolically important location was a constant bone of contention between the Counts of Württemberg and the Holy Roman Emperor.
In 1372, Hohenstaufen Castle finally was in the hands of the Württemberg rulers. After the expulsion of Duke Ulrich of Württemberg by the members of the Swabian League in 1519, one Georg Staufer of Bloßenstaufen successfully claimed the castle, as a descendant of the old Hohenstaufen dynasty. Therefore, only a small force defended the castle in 1525, when it was taken and destroyed by insurgents during the German Peasants" War. Stones from the castle were later used in the construction of the Renaissance Göppingen Castle.
Since the German unification of 1871, Hohenstaufen Castle has been regarded as a national monument. The archaeologist Walther Veeck undertook excavations on it between 1936 and 1938, and further excavations were made between 1967 and 1971, uncovering and securing the castle foundations. A Hohenstaufen memorial stele was inaugurated in 2002. In 2009 additional work was done to preserve the site.
The Staufer Museum, located at the intersection of Pfarrgasse and Kaiserbergsteige in Hohenstaufen, contains artifacts from and historical information about the site. The trail that leads to the castle site starts between the two churches that are adjacent to the Staufer Museum.References:
The Kalozha church of Saints Boris and Gleb is the oldest extant structure in Hrodna. It is the only surviving monument of ancient Black Ruthenian architecture, distinguished from other Orthodox churches by prolific use of polychrome faceted stones of blue, green or red tint which could be arranged to form crosses or other figures on the wall.
The church is a cross-domed building supported by six circular pillars. The outside is articulated with projecting pilasters, which have rounded corners, as does the building itself. The ante-nave contains the choir loft, accessed by a narrow gradatory in the western wall. Two other stairs were discovered in the walls of the side apses; their purpose is not clear. The floor is lined with ceramic tiles forming decorative patterns. The interior was lined with innumerable built-in pitchers, which usually serve in Eastern Orthodox churches as resonators but in this case were scored to produce decorative effects. For this reason, the central nave has never been painted.
The church was built before 1183 and survived intact, depicted in the 1840s by Michał Kulesza, until 1853, when the south wall collapsed, due to its perilous location on the high bank of the Neman. During restoration works, some fragments of 12th-century frescoes were discovered in the apses. Remains of four other churches in the same style, decorated with pitchers and coloured stones instead of frescoes, were discovered in Hrodna and Vaŭkavysk. They all date back to the turn of the 13th century, as do remains of the first stone palace in the Old Hrodna Castle.
In 2004, the church was included in the Tentative List of UNESCO"s World Heritage Sites.