Hohentwiel fortress, whose ruins lie on top of extinct volcano Hohentwiel, was constructed in 914 using stone taken from the mountain itself by Burchard III, Duke of Swabia. Originally, the Monastery of St. Georg was contained within the fortress, but in 1005 it was moved to Stein am Rhein (now in Switzerland), and the Swabian dukes lost control of Hohentwiel. In the later Middle Ages the noble families von Singen-Twiel (12th–13th centuries), von Klingen (to 1300) and von Klingenberg (to 1521) resided here. In 1521, it was passed on to Duke Ulrich von Württemberg, who developed Hohentwiel into one of the strongest fortresses of his duchy. During this time, it began to be used as a prison and in 1526, Hans Müller von Bulgenbach, a peasant commander, was imprisoned there prior to his execution.
The fortress resisted five Imperial sieges in the Thirty Years' War, under the command of Konrad Widerholt between 1634 and 1648. The effect was that Württemberg remainded protestant, while most of the surrounding areas returned to catholicism in the Counterreformation. The castle served as a Württemberg prison in the 18th century and was destroyed in 1800 after being peacefully handed over by the French.
Today the former fortress Hohentwiel is one of the biggest castle ruins of Germany. Hohentwiel’s imposing ramparts and casemates, its fallen towers and defiant ruins, still evoke the military might of this once-invincible fortress. The surrounding volcanic crags are a now a nature reserve, offering a unique habitat to many rare species of flora and fauna. Today, more than 80,000 visitors a year come to admire this special place. The modern city of Singen nestles at the foot of the mountain.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.