St. Nicholas' Church in Brzeg is a Gothic basilica built between 1370 and 1420 during the reign of Louis I of Brzeg. He built it on the site of a former brick building, mentioned in sources from 1279.
In 1523, the town of Brzeg experienced a Reformation. Prince Frederick II introduced the Lutheran religion into the principality. In 1524, the former Franciscan monk Jan of Opava gave his first sermon in the church in the reformist spirit; having gained ducal support, the teachings of Martin Luther were quick to find recognition among most of the people. In 1525, the church of St. Nicholas began to function as a Protestant church, continuing this role until 1945. The walls and pillars of the church are of stone. It has wooden epitaphs of the rich citizens of Brzeg. At the end of the nineteenth century the church towers were extended in response to the heightening of towers in the Holy Cross Church.
After the church burned down in late January and February 1945, it was left in disrepair for 13 years (until 1958). In 1958, on the initiative of Father Kazimierz Makarska, it was rebuilt on the basis of the plans from 1370. During the renovation work, late Gothic wall frescoes were discovered in the sacristy.
The church takes the form of a three-aisled basilica with an elongated nave including a division for choir and lateral aisles leading to the main altar. The naves have vaults which are wide and dark. The main nave is separated from the side by pillars and simple linear spans, with lots of interior space. The church has fine decorations carved in wood and stained glass windows. To date, only fragments survive of the original wooden decorations. The woodwork was burnt during the Second World War; the remains can be found in the National Museum in Wrocław and in the Museum of the Silesian Piasts in Brzeg. Two of the original stained glass windows are located in the National Museum in Poznań.References:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.