Fürstenfeld Abbey is a former Cistercian monastery in Fürstenfeldbruck. It was one of the household monasteries of the Wittelsbachs. The abbey church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary is held to be a masterpiece of the late Baroque in southern Germany.
In 1256, Louis II, Duke of Bavaria killed his first wife, Marie of Brabant (1226–1256) on suspicion of adultery, the penance for which, as imposed by Pope Alexander IV, was the foundation of a monastery. The first foundation at Seldental, at Tal near Aibling, in 1258, was afterwards moved to the present site near the town of Bruck in 1263. Papal permission for the new foundation to be settled by Cistercian monks from Aldersbach Abbey had been obtained as early as 1256, but was not confirmed by the Bishop of Freising until 1265, in which year the new abbey was at last settled.
Louis II endowed and privileged the new abbey very handsomely and when he died, was buried here. His son, Louis IV, Holy Roman Emperor, was also a great benefactor to the abbey, which supported him in his dynastic struggle against the Habsburger Frederick the Handsome. Emperor Louis IV died of a stroke at Puch nearby on 11 October 1347 during a bear hunt, and his heart was buried here. Both men named Louis are commemorated by elaborate Baroque monuments.
In the Thirty Years' War, in 1632/33 the monastery was sacked by the troops of King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, and the monks fled to Munich. From 1640 however the abbey began to make an economic recovery. Under Abbot Martin Dallmayr several churches were built and the number of monks doubled.
In 1691 the foundation stone was laid of the Baroque monastery buildings, responsibility for the construction of which lay with the Munich court architect and master builder, Giovanni Antonio Viscardi. The supervision of the construction, which did not properly begin until after the War of the Spanish Succession, was the responsibility of Johann Georg Ettenhofer, who probably introduced some alterations to Viscardi's plans. In 1723 the quire was completed, and in 1741 the church was dedicated, but the remaining works lingered on until about 1780.
A number of first-class artists were employed in the fitting-out, including the brothers Jacopo and Francesco Appiani and the Asam brothers: Cosmas Damian Asam painted the ceiling frescoes, and Egid Quirin Asam created the side altars and possibly also the design of the high altar. In layout the abbey church of Fürstenfeld follows the typical pattern of South German and Austrian churches. The interior is of imposing height and width, and in spite of the lengthy construction and fitting-out period makes a very unified impression.
In 1803, as a result of the general secularisation in Bavaria, Fürstenfeld Abbey passed into private ownership. The new proprietor was Ignaz Leitenberger, a Bohemian cloth manufacturer. The inhabitants of the town of Bruck saved the church from demolition, however. In 1816 it became the property of King Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria and from that time forward has served as a church of the royal family.
In 1817 the Bavarian Field Marshal Prince Wrede bought up the whole monastery, in which a year later a hospital and home for invalid soldiers was opened. In 1828 a prayer room for Protestants was opened in the former chapter room. Between 1848 and 1921 the monastery buildings were used for a variety of military purposes: for example, as a base for a number of infantry and cavalry units and as a military hospital. In 1866 part of the premises, in use at the time as a hospital, to the south of the church was destroyed in a fire.
After 1918 the former service range became the property of the Wittelsbach Compensation Fund, which rented it in 1923 to Ettal Abbey. From 1921 the remaining monastic buildings were used as boarding accommodation for school children. From 1924 to 1975 various police-related institutions were accommodated here, such as the principal police training school and the training schools of the Schutzpolizei and the Landpolizei, and from 1975 the special police studies department of the Bavarian Civil Service Technical College. In 1979 the town of Fürstenfeldbruck acquired the service buildings, which they re-modelled between 1987 and 2001 into a new cultural centre for the citizens of the district of Fürstenfeldbruck.References:
Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.
At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.
During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.
In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek. The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buonacorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.
The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo of Berrecci Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.
The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Kraków only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.
After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Kraków (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.
When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank. Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961. At present, the main curators of Wawel are Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection and the Metropolitan Basilica Board on Wawel Hill.