The Dionysiou Monastery is one of the twenty monasteries located on the peninsula of Mount Athos in northeastern Greece. The monastery is on the southwestern side of the peninsula. Dionysiou ranks fifth in the hierarchical order on Mount Athos and is dedicated to St. John the Baptist.
Dionysiou Monastery was founded in the 14th century by St. Dionysios of Koreseos. The golden bull authorizing the founding of the monastery was signed in 1374 by Alexios II Comneno. A treasure, the bull is kept in the monastery. Construction proceeded with financial aid from emperor Alexios III Comnenos.
The monastery is built along the western coast of the peninsula on a rocky cliff high above the sea and overlooking a deep wooded ravine. In 1535, the monastery was swept by fire destroying it. Reconstruction began quickly and by 1547 the principal church of the monastery, the katholikon, had been built and painted with several murals by the Cretan painter Tzortis. A golden iconostasis was added in the 18th century. Around the katholikon are number of chapels including one that is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Inside the monastery walls, a 25 meter high defensive tower was built in 1520. The tower was used periodically for safe keeping of the monastery's library. A dynamic community of monksnow inhabits Dionysiou and has undertaken the job of renovating and redecorating the older buildings.
The well organized monastery library contains many old documents, including 804 codices and more than 5,000 old printed books. Among the holdings are Gospels (Evangels) from the eleventh century as well as chrysobulls (golden bulls) and manuscripts. Among these manuscripts is an illuminated Gospel from the thirteenth century.
The relics of St. Niphon, Patriarch of Constantinople, are housed in a special crypt in the katholikon.References:
Hluboká Castle (Schloss Frauenberg) is considered one of the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic. In the second half of the 13th century, a Gothic castle was built at the site. During its history, the castle was rebuilt several times. It was first expanded during the Renaissance period, then rebuilt into a Baroque castle at the order of Adam Franz von Schwarzenberg in the beginning of the 18th century. It reached its current appearance during the 19th century, when Johann Adolf II von Schwarzenberg ordered the reconstruction of the castle in the romantic style of England's Windsor Castle.
The Schwarzenbergs lived in Hluboká until the end of 1939, when the last owner (Adolph Schwarzenberg) emigrated overseas to escape from the Nazis. The Schwarzenbergs lost all of their Czech property through a special legislative Act, the Lex Schwarzenberg, in 1947.
The original royal castle of Přemysl Otakar II from the second half of the 13th century was rebuilt at the end of the 16th century by the Lords of Hradec. It received its present appearance under Count Jan Adam of Schwarzenberg. According to the English Windsor example, architects Franz Beer and F. Deworetzky built a Romantic Neo-Gothic chateau, surrounded by a 1.9 square kilometres English park here in the years 1841 to 1871. In 1940, the castle was seized from the last owner, Adolph Schwarzenberg by the Gestapo and confiscated by the government of Czechoslovakia after the end of World War II. The castle is open to public. There is a winter garden and riding-hall where the Southern Bohemian gallery exhibitions have been housed since 1956.