The Parchim 'new town' and St. Mary’s Church parish were mentioned for the first time in historical documents dating to 1249: a new town market and St. Mary’s Church with 54-metre high steeple were built at this time. St. Mary's church steeple was finished in 1300 and its silhouette became a well-known landmark in the town. St. Mary’s Church is the oldest preserved building in Parchim and is regarded as one of the most magnificent examples of late Romanesque sacral architecture in Mecklenburg, the church also showing clear early gothic influences. In the 15th century, the church was enlarged on its a northern side, an annex being added and its western gable was renovated in a High Gothic style. Many of the original parts of the building remain standing today. After the northern wing of the building was separated around 1980, the original character of the three-aisle hall church was restored. The side aisles are only half the width of the central aisle, which is crowned by rectangular bays. Thus the interior has gothic proportions with clear emphasis on the building's vertical lines. In the church’s aisles, the visitor finds traces of the the transition from the Romanesque to the Gothic eras.
The clustered columns built on octagonal pedestals that support the church's clearly date to the 13th century, and are quiet different from the ribbed vaulting added in the 14th century. Annexes added to the church's northern wing are clearly Gothic: the annexes feature two bays and a star-shaped vault. The exterior of the Brick Gothic endear themselves to visitors through their rich decoration: you'll find typical German Gothic trimming and round-arched frescos beneath the eaves; strong lisenes at the corners of the annexes, quadrilateral frescos and triangular gables decorated with panels. The church’s interior features a valuable brass baptism font (1365), a beautifully sculptured wing altar (around 1500), a Renaissance-era pulpit and organ pipes as wide as the church itself (installed in the 17th century). The most significant historical of these cultural-historical monuments are the altar, the pulpit and and a seat designed for the use of town councillors.References:
Czocha Castle is located on the Lake Leśnia, what is now the Polish part of Upper Lusatia. Czocha castle was built on gneiss rock, and its oldest part is the keep, to which housing structures were later added.
Czocha Castle began as a stronghold, on the Czech-Lusatian border. Its construction was ordered by Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, in the middle of the 13th century (1241–1247). In 1253 castle was handed over to Konrad von Wallhausen, Bishop of Meissen. In 1319 the complex became part of the dukedom of Henry I of Jawor, and after his death, it was taken over by another Silesian prince, Bolko II the Small, and his wife Agnieszka. Origin of the stone castle dates back to 1329.
In the mid-14th century, Czocha Castle was annexed by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia. Then, between 1389 and 1453, it belonged to the noble families of von Dohn and von Kluks. Reinforced, the complex was besieged by the Hussites in the early 15th century, who captured it in 1427, and remained in the castle for unknown time (see Hussite Wars). In 1453, the castle was purchased by the family of von Nostitz, who owned it for 250 years, making several changes through remodelling projects in 1525 and 1611. Czocha's walls were strengthened and reinforced, which thwarted a Swedish siege of the complex during the Thirty Years War. In 1703, the castle was purchased by Jan Hartwig von Uechtritz, influential courtier of Augustus II the Strong. On August 17, 1793, the whole complex burned in a fire.
In 1909, Czocha was bought by a cigar manufacturer from Dresden, Ernst Gutschow, who ordered major remodelling, carried out by Berlin architect Bodo Ebhardt, based on a 1703 painting of the castle. Gutschow, who was close to the Russian Imperial Court and hosted several White emigres in Czocha, lived in the castle until March 1945. Upon leaving, he packed up the most valuable possessions and moved them out.
After World War II, the castle was ransacked several times, both by soldiers of the Red Army, and Polish thieves, who came to the so-called Recovered Territories from central and eastern part of the country. Pieces of furniture and other goods were stolen, and in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the castle was home to refugees from Greece. In 1952, Czocha was taken over by the Polish Army. Used as a military vacation resort, it was erased from official maps. The castle has been open to the public since September 1996 as a hotel and conference centre. The complex was featured in several movies and television series. Recently, the castle has been used as the setting of the College of Wizardry, a live action role-playing game (LARP) that takes place in their own universe and can be compared to Harry Potter.