One of Tirol’s true architectural gems is the splendid Cistercian Abbey of Stams, founded in 1273 by Count Meinhard II of Gorizia-Tyrol.
During the 16th-century Protestant Reformation and German Peasants' War the monastic community decayed. In the course of the 1552 rebellion against Emperor Charles V, the premises were plundered by the troops of Elector Maurice of Saxony; even the grave of Maurice' brother Severinus was destroyed. The monastery was largely rebuilt in its present-day Baroque style from the early 17th century onwards, including Wessobrunner stuccowork by Franz Xaver Feuchtmayer.
Set in pristine grounds, the monumental façade is easily recognized by its pair of silver cupolas at the front. The exuberant interiors can be admired within a guided tour: Crane your neck to marvel at ceilings adorned with rich stuccowork and elaborate frescoes and view elaborate iron grilles in the collegiate church. Among the Monastery’s most impressive possessions are Bernardi Hall, the Chapel of the Holy Blood and the “Prelates' Staircase”. Afterwards, you are strongly recommended to visit the Abbey's shop that offers a unique range of goods from homemade jams and honey to distinct monastic drinks and produce.References:
Easter Aquhorthies stone circle, located near Inverurie, is one of the best-preserved examples of a recumbent stone circle, and one of the few that still have their full complement of stones. It consists of a ring of nine stones, eight of which are grey granite and one red jasper. Two more grey granite stones flank a recumbent of red granite flecked with crystals and lines of quartz. The circle is particularly notable for its builders' use of polychromy in the stones, with the reddish ones situated on the SSW side and the grey ones opposite.
The placename Aquhorthies derives from a Scottish Gaelic word meaning 'field of prayer', and may indicate a 'long continuity of sanctity' between the Stone or Bronze Age circle builders and their much later Gaelic successors millennia later. The circle's surroundings were landscaped in the late 19th century, and it sits within a small fenced and walled enclosure. A stone dyke, known as a roundel, was built around the circle some time between 1847 and 1866–7.