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:
First record of Kastelholma (or Kastelholm) castle is from the year 1388 in the contract of Queen Margaret I of Denmark, where a large portion of the inheritance of Bo Jonsson Grip was given to the queen. The heyday of the castle was in the 15th and 16th centuries when it was administrated by Danish and Swedish kings and stewards of the realms. Kastelhoma was expanded and enhanced several times.
In the end of 16th century castle was owned by the previous queen Catherine Jagellon (Stenbock), an enemy of the King of Sweden Eric XIV. King Eric conquered Kastelholma in 1599 and all defending officers were taken to Turku and executed. The castle was damaged under the siege and it took 30 years to renovate it.
In 1634 Åland was joined with the County of Åbo and Björneborg and Kastelholma lost its administrative status.