The Cistercian Osek monastery was founded in 1191. It was invaded by armies, plundered by the Branibors, and burnt down by the Hussites. In the 15th century it was damaged, the monks were murdered and the property was taken away. Rudolf II abolished it in 1580, however, the Pope invalidated this decision. The manor was confiscated during the Thirty Years War, but the monastery was given back to the Cistercians later. Its fame culminated in the 18th century when it was reconstructed in the Baroque style. The monastery was damaged again by bombing at the end of the Second World War.
German Cistercians were expelled after 1945 and in 1950 the government established an internment camp here for monks and priests who were transported to prisons and uranium mines for forced work. Later it became a charity home for nuns. Cistercians got the monastery back after 1989.
Today the monastery is a cultural and tourist centre offering a look into the history from the Romanesque period through the Gothic style to Baroque and provides unrepeatable cultural experiences in a fairy-tale environment.
Its dominant feature is the large monastery Church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, which is an originally Romanesque three-nave basilica that was reconstructed in the Baroque style. Due to its length of 76 metres it belongs to the largest religious constructions in Bohemia. The most valuable part of the old monastery is an early Gothic capitular hall with a stone reading pulpit.References:
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.
Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.
In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.