The Cathedral of Saint Lawrence, standing at the top of Petřín hill in the Lesser Town, is a church, which serve as the cathedral of the Old Catholic Church in the Czech Republic. With its altitude of 327 metres above sea level this was the highest place in Prague for a long time.
The cathedral is located on a site, where pagan Slavs made their ceremonies and lighted sacred fires and where princess Libuše, according to a legend, made a prophecy about future splendour and fame of Prague. It is said that Duke Boleslav II (by request of Prague bishop Saint Adalbert) had a small church built there, consecrated to Saint Lawrence.
The oldest written source about the chapel of Saint Lawrence dates back to 1135. In that time it was a single-nave romanesque building with an apse on the east end and a tower on the west. The walls of this Romanesque building are partially preserved in the present church. It was built probably during the reign of Duke Soběslav I and was similar in style to the church of the Holy Cross in the Old Town, which is now also used by the Old Catholic Church.
In 1590 the chapel was restored by George Henry of Frankenstein. In the 18th century the church was reubilt due to P. Norbert Saazer and the Guild of Prague cooks. The construction lasted from 1730s to the year 1780. The project was made by architect K. I. Dientzenhofer. A new monumental Baroque north face of the building was created, with statues of Holy Trinity, St John of Nepomuk and St Mary Magdalene. There is also the coat of arms of prior František Strachovský ze Strachovic, who oversaw the building work. In the niche there is a statue of St Adalbert.
As for the furnishings, the most notable item is a painting of the martyrdom of St Lawrence by Burgundian painter Jean Claud Monnot on the right side altar. Today’s interior is a work of Architect Jiří Pelcl, including a modern crucifix, hanging from the ceiling.
Chapel of Calvary, standing next to the church, was built in 1735. Its face is decorated by a sgraffito of the Resurrection. The Way of the Cross on Petřín with 14 stations also belong to the church.References:
Czocha Castle is located on the Lake Leśnia, what is now the Polish part of Upper Lusatia. Czocha castle was built on gneiss rock, and its oldest part is the keep, to which housing structures were later added.
Czocha Castle began as a stronghold, on the Czech-Lusatian border. Its construction was ordered by Wenceslaus I of Bohemia, in the middle of the 13th century (1241–1247). In 1253 castle was handed over to Konrad von Wallhausen, Bishop of Meissen. In 1319 the complex became part of the dukedom of Henry I of Jawor, and after his death, it was taken over by another Silesian prince, Bolko II the Small, and his wife Agnieszka. Origin of the stone castle dates back to 1329.
In the mid-14th century, Czocha Castle was annexed by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia. Then, between 1389 and 1453, it belonged to the noble families of von Dohn and von Kluks. Reinforced, the complex was besieged by the Hussites in the early 15th century, who captured it in 1427, and remained in the castle for unknown time (see Hussite Wars). In 1453, the castle was purchased by the family of von Nostitz, who owned it for 250 years, making several changes through remodelling projects in 1525 and 1611. Czocha's walls were strengthened and reinforced, which thwarted a Swedish siege of the complex during the Thirty Years War. In 1703, the castle was purchased by Jan Hartwig von Uechtritz, influential courtier of Augustus II the Strong. On August 17, 1793, the whole complex burned in a fire.
In 1909, Czocha was bought by a cigar manufacturer from Dresden, Ernst Gutschow, who ordered major remodelling, carried out by Berlin architect Bodo Ebhardt, based on a 1703 painting of the castle. Gutschow, who was close to the Russian Imperial Court and hosted several White emigres in Czocha, lived in the castle until March 1945. Upon leaving, he packed up the most valuable possessions and moved them out.
After World War II, the castle was ransacked several times, both by soldiers of the Red Army, and Polish thieves, who came to the so-called Recovered Territories from central and eastern part of the country. Pieces of furniture and other goods were stolen, and in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the castle was home to refugees from Greece. In 1952, Czocha was taken over by the Polish Army. Used as a military vacation resort, it was erased from official maps. The castle has been open to the public since September 1996 as a hotel and conference centre. The complex was featured in several movies and television series. Recently, the castle has been used as the setting of the College of Wizardry, a live action role-playing game (LARP) that takes place in their own universe and can be compared to Harry Potter.