The Neues Schloss in Meersburg was the seat of the Prince-Bishop of Constance from its construction in 1750 until the bishopric was dissolved in 1803. Construction began in 1710 under Bishop Johann Franz II. von Stauffenberg, with Christoph Gessinger designing and supervising the work. It would be two years later in 1712 that the project was finished. The building was, however, a bit unfinished as a symbol of the power of the bishop. The upper story contained a number of apartments for visiting nobles and church leaders as the residence of a Prince-Bishop should, but it lacked a grand staircase and other trappings of wealth and power.
When Hugo Damian von Schönborn, who was already Bishop of Speyer and had already built Schloss Bruchsal there, took over the seat at Meersburg in 1740 he wanted to improve the Neues Schloss. He brought in the master builder Johann Georg Stahl from Bruchsal to turn the Schloss into a more impressive and elegant building. Following plans from Balthasar Neumann, Johann built an impressive staircase and decorated the castle.
From 1741 until 1743 the castle chapel was added, based on plans from Balthasar Neumann. The art and statues are the work of the fresco painter Gottfried Bernhard Göz from Augsburg (1708–1774) and the sculptor Joseph Anton Feuchtmayer (1696–1770).
By 1759 the Prince-Bishop Cardinal Franz Konrad von Rodt had the castle renovated under the direction of the master builder Franz Anton Bagnatos. The already dilapidated stairway had to be restored. The baroque facade of the castle was redone in the Rococo style, with enlarged windows, additional decoration around the windows and new gables.
The interior decoration is the work of the Mainz artist Giuseppe Appiani (c. 1705–1786) and the sculptor Carlo Luca Pozzi (1735–1803). Among the paintings by Appiani are two enormous paintings over the Grand Staircase from 1761 and over the ballroom from 1762.
During the 19th century and until 1955 the Schloss served as a school for girls, a local prison, a sailors' school, a secondary school and from 1865–1937 as the Baden Institution for Deaf-mutes, which moved to Gengenbach after 1937. Following World War II it was used as barracks for French troops.
Today the castle is home to several museums. In addition to the Town Gallery and the Dornier Museum, which take up the 2nd floor, the New Palace is also home to the Palace Museum of the Prince Bishops (Fürstbischöfliche Schlossmuseum) on the 3rd floor. It offers the opportunity to view the residential and representation rooms of the prince bishops refurnished with contemporary appointments from that age.References:
Steinvikholm Castle is an island fortress built between 1525 to 1532 by Norway's last Catholic archbishop, Olav Engelbrektsson. Steinvikholm castle became the most powerful fortification by the time it was built, and it is the largest construction raised in the Norwegian Middle Ages.
The castle occupies about half of the land on the rocky island. The absence of a spring meant that fresh water had to be brought from the mainland. A wooden bridge served as the only way to the island other than boat. Although the castle design was common across Europe in 1525, its medieval design was becoming obsolete because of the improved siege firepower offered by gunpowder and cannons.
The castle was constructed after Olav Engelbrektsson returned from a meeting with the Pope in Rome, presumably in anticipation of impending military-religious conflict. As Archbishop Engelbrektsson's resistance to the encroachment of Danish rule escalated, first with Frederick I of Denmark and his successor Christian III of Denmark, Steinvikholm Castle and Nidarholm Abbey became the Catholic Church's military strongholds in Norway. In April 1537, the Danish-Norwegian Reformation succeeded in driving the archbishop from the castle into exile in Lier in the Netherlands (now in Belgium), where he died on 7 February 1538. At the castle the archbishop left behind St. Olav's shrine and other treasures from Nidaros Cathedral (Trondheim). The original coffin containing St. Olav's body remained at Steinvikholm until it was returned to Nidaros Cathedral in 1564. Since 1568 St. Olav's grave in Nidaros has been unknown.
From the 17th to 19th century, the island was used as a quarry and some of its masonry was sold and removed from the site. This activity was condoned by the Danish-Norwegian authorities as a way of eliminating a monument to the opposition of the Danish–Norwegian Union.
Steinvikholm fort is owned and operated today by The society for the Preservation of Norwegian Ancient Monuments. The island has been the site of the midnight opera which details the life and struggles of the archbishop. The opera is held in August annually. The opera is organized by Steinvikholm Musikkteater since the beginning in 1993.