Couwelaar Castle, also known as De Drie Torekens (The Three Turrets) is L-shaped and consists of a main building with wings, as well as several outbuildings including a coach house. The main building is characterized by two round towers at the front and a built-in, square tower at the rear. Over the centuries, the castle has been extensively altered and restored several times and has stylistic elements of the Neo-Renaissance and Rococo, among others. Couwelaar Castle is a historical monument.
The first mentions of a Couwelaar estate date to the beginning of the 15th century: in 1402 it is recorded as belonging to Pieter van Immerseel. It later passed to Pieter de Francques, a merchant from Antwerp, and then to his son Raphaël. In 1584, Couwelaar was sold in the Vrijdagmarkt. In any event, in 1606 it was owned by Gilles Du Mont, a cloth merchant who had also recently acquired the nearby castle of Bisschoppenhof. The Du Monts significantly improved the castle by adding six towers and laying out gardens and fish ponds.
Couwelaar changed hands several times in the following years. Pedro de Man, a former schepen (alderman) of Antwerp, had the castle thoroughly restored in 1766, in classical style. Four of the towers were in poor repair and were demolished and a new moat, among other things, was added. In 1848, a pleasure garden in the style of the Italian Neo-Renaissance was commissioned by John della Faille de Leverghem and his wife, who had purchased the castle two years earlier. They also had the castle itself renovated in the style of the Flemish Neo-Renaissance.
The real estate company Crédit Foncier d'Anvers acquired the castle in 1913 and had the moats filled in. In 1927, the castle ultimately became the property of the municipality, which until 1970 used it for administrative services and as a workshop and storage. Repairs were carried out in 1986–88, particularly to the towers and roofs. In the early 21st century the castle was sold to a group of new owners who pledged to restore it without impairing its historic character, and it has been divided into five cohousing apartments.References:
The Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc is a Baroque monument built in 1716–1754 in honour of God. The main purpose was a spectacular celebration of Catholic Church and faith, partly caused by feeling of gratitude for ending a plague, which struck Moravia between 1713 and 1715. The column was also understood to be an expression of local patriotism, since all artists and master craftsmen working on this monument were Olomouc citizens, and almost all depicted saints were connected with the city of Olomouc in some way. The column is the biggest Baroque sculptural group in the Czech Republic. In 2000 it was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list.
The column is dominated by gilded copper sculptures of the Holy Trinity accompanied by the Archangel Gabriel on the top and the Assumption of the Virgin beneath it.
The base of the column, in three levels, is surrounded by 18 more stone sculptures of saints and 14 reliefs in elaborate cartouches. At the uppermost stage are saints connected with Jesus’ earth life – his mother’s parents St. Anne and St. Joachim, his foster-father St. Joseph, and St. John the Baptist, who was preparing his coming – who are accompanied by St. Lawrence and St. Jerome, saints to whom the chapel in the Olomouc town hall was dedicated. Three reliefs represent the Three theological virtues Faith, Hope, and Love.
Below them, the second stage is dedicated to Moravian saints St. Cyril and St. Methodius, who came to Great Moravia to spread Christianity in 863, St. Blaise, in whose name one of the main Olomouc churches is consecrated, and patrons of neighbouring Bohemia St. Adalbert of Prague and St. John of Nepomuk, whose following was very strong there as well.
In the lowest stage one can see the figures of an Austrian patron St. Maurice and a Bohemian patron St. Wenceslas, in whose names two important Olomouc churches were consecrated, another Austrian patron St. Florian, who was also viewed as a protector against various disasters, especially fire, St. John of Capistrano, who used to preach in Olomouc, St. Anthony of Padua, a member of the Franciscan Order, which owned an important monastery in Olomouc, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga, a patron of students. His sculpture showed that Olomouc was very proud of its university. Reliefs of all twelve apostles are placed among these sculptures.
The column also houses a small chapel inside with reliefs depicting Cain's offering from his crop, Abel's offering of firstlings of his flock, Noah's first burnt offering after the Flood, Abraham's offering of Isaac and of a lamb, and Jesus' death. The cities of Jerusalem and Olomouc can be seen in the background of the last mentioned relief.