The Protestant Amandus Church is a late Gothic fortified former village church. The first mention of a church at this place dates from 844. The foundation walls of the massive choir tower date from the late Romanesque or early Gothic period. The chancel, the choir tower with its embrasures and the oldest part of the nave were probably not built until after 1450, despite the early Gothic impression created by the chancel arch. The style periods out in the country often follow those of a region's main cultural centres. According to a headstone text on the south wall, in 1500 a chapel which no longer survives was added by the Mainz canon Peter Nothaft who originated from here. The tracery windows as well as the expressive crucifix on the altar also date from the late Gothic period.
In 1590, the rectory still in use today was built behind the north wall of the church. In 1596, the entire chancel was painted with murals by the artist Jörg Herzog from Markgröningen. The murals in the nave also date from this period. In 1597 and 1607, it was reported that the cemetery could no longer accommodate the victims of the plague. As a result, in 1610 the cemetery still in use today to the east of the church was built. In 1620, a southern transept with a large gallery was added, presumably at the cost of the chapel built in 1500. Around the same time, the round tower on the south side was erected as a stairwell for the manorial lords of Beihingen. During the wars of the 17th century, i.e. the Thirty Years' War and the War of the Palatine Succession, the church lost its windows, stalls, pulpit, and the bells installed in 1631.
In the following period these losses were compensated and the church further expanded. In 1699 the abat-voix was built, and only then, following models at Ludwigsburg built at the same time, was the pulpit added below. That year the church also received its first organ. In 1703, a stucco ceiling was completed in the south nave. In 1706 the bells were replaced. In 1737, extensions were made to accommodate the growing population. On the north wall the large wooden gallery for the men of the parish was erected, together with a specially constructed outer staircase with its own stone gateway.
In the 18th century, the church was embellished in the Rococo style. The Gothic ceiling, door and window embrasures and the rector’s stall were painted with ornamental imagery. The same artist, Hans Stiegler, painted the oils on the gallery ballustrades. In 1766 the church received the organ, whose casing is preserved to this day.
In 1958 the church underwent comprehensive restoration which revealed murals painted in medieval times and about 1600 which had been whitewashed over. Most could be recovered in subsequent years. The little altar before the organ was replaced in 1960 by a stone altar where the Gothic crucifix was placed. In 1981 the organ pipes were renewed, while the casing was preserved.
With the various additions, furnishings and fixtures the church appears contorted, buoyant and contrastive. The massive, austere Gothic style chancel tower is in peculiar contrast to the main structure, which with its added southern nave and the adjoining semicircular stairwell tower gives the impression of a buoyant Renaissance castle. Nevertheless, the structure as a whole is harmonious. Ornamental elements which recur in various parts of the building include the window designs, the unplastered stones forming the building ledges and the wraparound storey decorations make for a coherent structure. The bright white exterior and the exposed position of the church enhance the building itself while contributing to its appearance as an integral unit.
Next to the entrance, there is an unusually large tower room (in proportion to the church as a whole). It looks almost as if there is a second storey. In contrast, the chancel bears a classic tower as found in many churches in southern Germany. A Gothic chancel arch much narrower than the body of the church separates the chancel from the nave. The southern nave too is conspicuously segregated from the main nave. Between two round arches, a column decorated with coloured plaster bears the weight of the ceiling between the main and lateral naves. The chancel and the altar cannot be seen from some of the seats in the lateral nave. The richly ornamented Baroque pulpit with its abat-voix can however be seen from almost all seats.
The east wall of the church bears a large colourful medieval fresco showing a scene of the Resurrection. It was discovered during the 1958 restoration. The coffered ceiling and the two transoms were first painted in the Middle Ages. Traces can still be seen underneath Hans Stiegler’s ornamental Rococo decorations. The panels were also originally decorated with golden hemispheres.
The most striking embellishments are Stiegler’ oils covering the whole length of the gallery ballustrades. On the manorial gallery to the south they show Christ, the twelve apostles and the four evangelists. On the men’s gallery biblical history from the Creation to the Last Judgment and the Trinity is depicted consecutively along the west and north sides.
The Renaissance painting by Jörg Herzog in the chancel above the entrance to the vestry shows the creation of man in paradise and the story of Cain and Abel. To the left of the eastern chancel window, Moses with the ten commandments is depicted, while his brother Aaron is portrayed to the right of the window. The painting of the Creation on the chancel side of the triumphal arch could not be restored.
The organ solemnly inaugurated in 1766 was made by the renowned master organ builder Johannes Weinmar from Bondorf. It is richly decorated with figures of trumpeting angels and gilded arabesques. Originally it stood in its own gallery which, however, was removed during renovation work in 1898. On this occasion the pipes too were replaced by new ones more in accordance with the style of the times. In the second renovation in 1981, new pipes were again installed, this time with a view to reproducing as closely as possible the sound of the Baroque original.
Amandus church was not only a parish church, but also served the local nobility for representation and burials. Thus the tombstones of Bernhard (died 1467) and Werner (died 1492) Nothaft, both Nothaft knights, are to be found on the southern part of the east wall. Next to these is the colourful and richly ornamented Rococo tombstone of Ludwig von Gemmingen († 1771). In the chancel there are numerous tombs and epitaphs remarkable either for their sculptural design or their colouring. They preserve the memory of the noble families of Hallweil, Freyberg, Stammheim, Sachsenheim and Breitenbach from the Renaissance period. The walled up burial vault of these families is situated beneath the chancel.References:
The Moszna Castle is one of the best known monuments in the western part of Upper Silesia. The history of this building begins in the 17th century, although much older cellars were found in the gardens during excavations carried out at the beginning of the 20th century. Some of the investigators, including H. Barthel, claimed that those cellars could have been remnants of a presumed Templar castle, but their theory has never been proved. After World War II, further excavations discovered a medieval palisade.
The central part of the castle is an old baroque palace which was partially destroyed by fire on the night of April 2, 1896 and was reconstructed in the same year in its original form by Franz Hubert von Tiele-Winckler. The reconstruction works involved an extension of the residence. The eastern Neogothic-styled wing of the building was built by 1900, along with an adjacent orangery. In 1912-1914, the western wing was built in the Neo-Renaissance style. The architectural form of the castle contains a wide variety of styles, thus it can be generally defined as eclectic.
The height of the building, as well as its numerous turrets and spires, give the impression of verticalism. The whole castle has exactly ninety-nine turrets. Inside, it contains 365 rooms. The castle was twice visited by the German Emperor Wilhelm II. His participation in hunting during his stay at the castle was documented in a hand-written chronicle in 1911 as well as in the following year. The castle in Moszna was the residence of a Silesian family Tiele-Winckler who were industrial magnates, from 1866 until the spring of 1945 when they were forced to move to Germany and the castle was occupied by the Red Army. The period of the Soviet control caused significant damage to the castle's internal fittings in comparison to the minor damage caused by WWII.
After World War II the castle did not have a permanent owner and was the home of various institutions until 1972 when it became a convalescent home. Later it became a Public Health Care Centre for Therapies of Neuroses. Nowadays it can be visited by tourists since the health institution has moved to another building in the neighbourhood. The castle also has a chapel which is used as a concert hall. Since 1998 the castle housed a gallery in which works of various artists are presented at regular exhibitions.
Apart from the castle itself, the entire complex includes a park which has no precise boundaries and includes nearby fields, meadows and a forest. Only the main axis of the park can be characterised as geometrical. Starting from the gate, it leads along the oak and then horse-chestnut avenues, towards the castle. Further on, the park passes into an avenue of lime trees with symmetrical canals running along both sides of the path, lined with a few varieties of rhododendrons. The axis of the park terminates at the base of a former monument of Hubert von Tiele-Winckler. On the eastern side of the avenue there is a pond with an islet referred to by the owners as Easter Island. The islet is planted with needle-leaved shrubs and can be reached by a Chinese-styled bridge. The garden, as part of the whole park complex was restored slightly earlier than the castle itself. Preserved documents of 1868 state that the improvement in the garden's aesthetic quality was undertaken by Hubert von Tiele-Winckler.