Church of Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary was founded at the same time as the city of České Budějovice in 1265; initial construction was completed around 1300. It is a monumental Gothic building with Baroque and Rococo additions and unique medieval fresco paintings.
In spite of numerous rebuildings of the church, convent buildings and the cloister, the exterior of the church is preserved in the early Gothic style. Lanced windows have the typical Gothic tracery- circled three-leaves, divided into two parts which are ended by rosettes. Massive supporting columns with no decoration ended in the isosceles triangle protrude to the exterior. The eastern frontage and the lanced niche with smaller window are the part of town fortifications. Seven former decorative niches, typical for the early Gothic churches are maintained on the peak.
There is placed the frog from stone under the roof. According to the legend, when the frog reaches the top of the roof the end of the world comes.
The interior of the church is preserved in former early Gothic style with small Baroque complements in the eastern part. The three-nave basilica church with the embedded transept and the southern entrance is connected by two portals to the cloister. Low aisles are divided from the nave by six pairs of columns. There is a cross vault with profiled ribs in seven bays. On the side which is opened to the nave the profile of ribs continues to the ground while on other sides ribs are ended by simple supports. On the southern wall former consoles with vegetable motives can be seen. The vault of the nave is also cross, and it is divided into ten bays and there is one with five bays above the chancel. Keystones in naves are decorated. On brackets of ribs different human heads are represented instead of vegetable motives in the nave.
There are extremely valuable murals, date back to 14th century, in the church. The unique one is the dual-mural in niche which is opposite to the southern entrance in the direction of transept: older part shows the painting of the holy Virgin, the Christ and knelt donator. On the left from the niche there is situated the biggest mural in the Czech Republic- the mural of the Saint Christopher which has almost 10 metres.
The oldest chapel is probably a gothic chapel of Margaret the Virgin. King Ottokar II of Bohemia grounded the chapel in 1267 and in 1633 earl Baltasar Marradas rebuilt the chapel as the Marian chapel. There was placed the picture of Virgin Mary of České Budějovice from the 15th century. The Gothic chorale chapel is also meant in sources. Nowadays chapels are not preserved, they broken down during the rebuilt of the monastery which started in 1885. The chapel of Saint George together with the monastery´s library were the only objects of the whole monastery which were not damaged during the fire in 1381.The Czech chapel was established on the first floor of former belfry which dates back to 15th century. The chapel is preserved but there is not public access. Nowadays smaller baroque chapel abuts to the southern wall of the church.References:
The Château d'Olhain is probably the most famous castle of the Artois region. It is located in the middle of a lake which reflects its picturesque towers and curtain walls. It was also a major stronghold for the Artois in medieval times and testimony to the power of the Olhain family, first mentioned from the 12th century.
The existence of the castle was known early in the 13th century, but the present construction is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain at the end of the 15th century.
The marriage of Alix Nielles to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France (master of hounds) to the King, meant the castle passed to this family, who kept it for more than 450 years. Once confiscated by Charles Quint, it suffered during the wars that ravaged the Artois. Besieged in 1641 by the French, it was partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and finally blown-up and taken by the Dutch in 1710. Restored in 1830, it was abandoned after 1870, and sold by the last Prince of Berghes in 1900. There is also evidence that one of the castles occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the person Alexandre Dumas based his Three Musketeers charictor d'Artagnan on.
During the World War I and World War II, the castle was requisitioned first by French troops, then Canadian and British soldiers. The current owner has restored the castle to its former glory.