Berchtesgaden Castle dates from 1102 from the Augustin Collegiate. According to legend, Countess Irmgard von Sulzbach vowed to found the monastery as gratitude for saving her spouse after a serious hunting accident.
Throughout the ages, provosts and canons expanded the complex of buildings. Seen from today, it is a lucky circumstance that never enough money was available for tearing the place down. On the contrary, extensions have always been added in the style of the time. The Romanesque cloister has been built around 1180, followed around 1400 by the two-nave Gothic hall. Around 1500 two Renaissance halls were built on the southern side and the Baroque wing was added in 1725.
During the 14th century, the Augustin collegiate achieved imperial immediacy, which made it direct subordinate to the emperor. The provost became the territorial lord and the monastery premises became his residence. In 1559, the monastery was raised to the status of provostry.
After mediatisation (meaning lifting of the spiritual status) in 1803 and the concomitant end of provostal rule, the Land of Berchtesgaden came for short periods under different rules until, in 1810, it became part of the Kingdom of Bavaria. Since 1818, Berchtesgaden Castle has been used as hunting lodge by the kings of Bavaria. Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria made it his residence and lived in it with his family from 1922 until 1933. The rich furnishing of the castle with works of art is due to him. To these days, the head of the House of Wittelsbach, Duke Franz of Bavaria, uses the castle as summer residence.
Many different style eras have set their stamp on Berchtesgaden Royal Castle: from Romanesque to Gothic and Baroque, right on to Rococo. Throughout the ages, at has been expanded and modified again and again. The cloister and its late Romanesque sculptures are evidence of the castle’s origins in the High Middle Ages. After 1818, the erstwhile monastery was used by the Wittelsbachs as hunting lodge. Crown Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria (1869-1955) lived here with his family from 1922 until 1933 and used many rooms for exhibiting items from the art collection of the Wittelsbachs. They include two retables by Tilman Riemenschneider of Rothenburg ob der Tauber and also valuable hunting weapons and trophies as well as, at 18 kilogrammes, the heaviest antlers of Bavaria. Precious furniture, exquisite porcelain and paintings by major artists, especially from the 'Munich School', make it all complete. The view from the Upper Rode Garden over the Watzmann is considered to be the most splendid in the entire valley.References:
Olargues is a good example of a French medieval town and rated as one of the most beautiful villages in France. It was occupied by the Romans, the Vandals and the Visigoths. At the end of the 11th century the Jaur valley came under the authority of the Château of the Viscount of Minerve. The following centuries saw a succession of wars and epidemics, and it was not until the 18th century that Olargues became re-established. This was due to the prosperity of local agriculture and artisanal industry.
The Pont du Diable, 'Devil's Bridge', is said to date back to 1202 and is reputed to be the scene of transactions between the people of Olargues and the devil. The old village is clustered around the belltower, which was formerly the main tower of the castle (Romanesque construction). The old shops have marble frontages and overhanging upper storeys. A museum of popular traditions and art is to be found in the stairs of the Commanderie.