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:
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.