Château de Frœnsbourg is a ruined French castle near the German border. The castle was indirectly mentioned in 1235. It is attested in 1269, in an account of the brothers 'of Frundsperg'. Until the 1340s, the castle would have belonged exclusively to the Frönsbourgs, who had the same armorial bearings as the Fleckensteins (of which family they were probably a branch).
A little before the middle of the 14th century, the castle was divided between the lords of Froensbourg (who kept half of it), Loewenstein and Sickingen. It was besieged and ruined, in 1349, because of the banditry of Reinhard von Sickingen, but was certainly restored after 1358, the date when the castle was offered as a stronghold to the Palatine Count. The dwelling tower on the southern rock, known as the small castle, was owned towards the end of the 15th century by Fleckenstein, who had it restored. Its main door is dated 1481.
The big castle occupied the whole of the northern rock. At the higher level, on the side of a likely attack, is a keep with living quarters towards the south. On the middle and lower floors were located the common buildings and dependences made of wood - traces of anchorings remain in the rocks - and troglodytic rooms. The lower courtyard stood in the west and there was a ditch to the north. There are several staircases cut into the rock. The castle was destroyed by the French in 1677 but was probably already abandoned at that time.
The castle stands on an isolated sandstone spur oriented north-south, separated from the mountain by a large ditch. The spur, split in two, comprises a longer and higher northern rock, connected at mid-level by a modern footbridge to the southern rock. At the base of the northern rock, on the north-western side, a low room is cut into the rock and joined by a narrow bay (of unspecified date) to a tiny cylindrical room leading to the middle level. This could correspond to an old well-cistern. Above the door is evidence of the anchoring for a drawbridge. Further south, a western projection with access door is located, a winding staircase cut in the sandstone, traces of buildings with a stable, a well in a corner and vestiges of staircases in the rock. At the middle level, to the east (reached via a modern staircase and a largely original door) are two rooms cut in the rock; to the north is the upper part of the old well-cistern. Towards the south, a square cistern close to the modern footbridge gives access to the small southern rock. This is entirely occupied by the remains of the dwelling tower whose Gothic arch doorway remains, dated 1481.
The remains of the northern keep and the lodgings towards the south, located on the higher terrace of the northern rock, are inaccessible.References:
For centuries, the Astrakhan Kremlin was inapproachable stronghold in the south-eastern border of the Russia. The first construction of the Kremlin began in 1587-1588 under the guidance of I.G. Vorodkov, a lector of Discharge Order. He laid the first wooden fortress with powerful solid walls and towers. The place of construction was chosen on the hill, known as “Rabbit” or “Zayachii” in Russian.
During the reign of Ivan IV The Terrible and Boris Godunov the wooden fortress was rebuilt into a stone one. For the development of Kremlin walls and towers state-owned official masters were headed from Moscow to Astrakhan. For best results executives used the old, but very strong Tatar plinths which were brought from the ruins of the cities of the Golden Horde towns. Stone citadel was built by the type of Moscow Kremlin.
Next two centuries have become relatively calm for the Kremlin. Its buildings were repaired, rebuilt and renewed. However, in the beginning of 20th century after the October Revolution access to the Kremlin was closed. Instead it was transformed as a military post, where groups of Red Guards were formed the Military Revolutionary Committee was placed.
In January 1918 Astrakhan Kremlin was once again in the middle of fateful events, when supporters of Soviet power fought with Astrkhan Cossaks. They attacked The Red Army that was entrenched in the Kremlin, from roofs of nearby buildings. Serious destruction was caused to the Kremlin after this battle. In 1919 the Army was reorganized under the leadership of Kirov to protect the outfall of Volga and to defeat the White Guard troops and foreign interventionists.
Only after the end of the World War II the town opened the access to the Kremlin. At the same time Kremlin ceases to be subject of military purposes. In the mid-20th century significant restoration works were held, due to which many buildings, requiring urgent repairs were saved.
In 1974 the Astrakhan Kremlin became a museum. Nowadays citizens and tourists of Astrakhan have the access to museum exhibits of the lifestyle of the Astrakhan Garrison. Moreover they can see Casual Suits archers and scorers, elements of their weapons and ammunition, the exhibition dedicated to the history of popular uprisings and corporal punishment. In 2011, after the restoration of the kremlin, Guardhouse exposition was opened, which tells about the life of Astrakhan military garrison of the 19th century.
Construction of Assumption Cathedral began in 1699 and lasted almost 12 years. The bell tower was erected in 1710. The exterior of the Cathedral was decorated with molded brick and carved with white stone. Windows and dome heads were framed by columns in the style of Corinthian décor and semicircular arches were filled with paintings with biblical plot. Three of such arches were arranged on each side of the temple.
The cathedral was divided into two floors: the upper church is dedicated to the honor of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin. Tall and light temple was intended for ceremonial worships during warm months. The lower church which is dark lightened and surrounded by the gallery columns.