Aura Abbey was a house of the Benedictine Order located at Aura an der Saale. Built on the site of an earlier castle, and dedicated to Saints Laurence and Gregory, it was founded by Bishop Otto of Bamberg between about 1108 and 1113; the foundation charter is dated 1122. The new foundation was settled by monks from Hirsau Abbey. The first abbot was Ekkehard of Aura, a monk from Bamberg, famous as the continuer of the Weltchronik of Frutolf of Michaelsberg. The Vögte were the Counts of Henneberg, although later the Bishop of Würzburg seems to have acquired some authority here.

In 1469 the abbey joined the Bursfelde Congregation, but suffered repeated disasters in the 16th century, including almost complete destruction by a rioting mob in 1525, and after rebuilding, a second destruction in 1553 during the second campaign of Albert Alcibiades, Margrave of Brandenburg-Kulmbach. It was finally dissolved in 1564 and its assets transferred to the exchequer of the Diocese of Würzburg.

An attempt at a revival was started in 1617 by Prince-Bishop Gottfried von Aschhausen, but the project was abandoned at his death in 1622, leaving some impressive remains of the unfinished church.

Very little is left of the original monastery, except for the former abbey church of St. Laurence, which is still a significant Romanesque building, although with considerable alterations and additions from the 17th and 18th centuries.

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Founded: 1108-1122
Category: Religious sites in Germany
Historical period: Salian Dynasty (Germany)

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Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.

Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.

Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.

The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.

During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.

The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.

From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.

The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.

Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.