Deanery Church of St. Nicholas is notable dominant of Znojmo, to be seen on practically all panoramas of the town along with the town hall tower. Its consecration to St. Nicholas, the patron of merchants, is connected to the peripheral merchant settlement called Újezdec, which existed around the church since the end of the 11th century. The name St. Nicholas appears on the coins of the Znojmo principality's duke Litold around year 1100. In 1190, the originally Romanesque church was donated by duke Conrad Otto to the newly founded Louka abbey.
In the first third of the 14th century the old church succumbed to the huge fires that raged in the town, so the nobility of Louky had to proceed with the construction of a brand new temple. The building's architectural development was extremely complex; it passed through several stages during the 14th and 15th centuries. The main part of the church is built as a tall three-nave hall, segmented by huge cylindrical pillars. In December 1437, the dead body of emperor Zikmund of Luxembourg was publicly displayed in the temple. In the Baroque era, the interior of the church was refurbished (altars and sculptures), some of the side chapels were rebuilt.
The visitor will be captivated namely by the unique Gothic frescoes in the chancel, a masterful sanctuary and a beautiful Gothic sculpture of Christ whipped at a pole. We should also mention the interesting Baroque pulpit in the shape of the globe and the exquisite Neo-Gothic organ in the choir. The tower is the most recent addition to the building, as it wasn't erected until mid 19th century. The original church tower stood to the south, on the site of today's small tower.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.