St. Michael's church in Aachen was built for the Jesuit Collegium in 1617-1628 and is now a church of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Germany.
With the dissolution of the Jesuit Order in September 1773 the church was closed and converted into a granary during the French period, later it was used as a parish church. In 1987 the Greek Orthodox community of St. Dimitrios which was found in 1963 purchased the building. Beside Orthodox services also ecumenical services are held in it. Recently, due to its good acoustics and location the church enjoys an increasingly popularity by choirs and orchestras.
The three-galleried basilica was built between 1617 and 1628, and the tower between 1658 and 1668 which this is oriented to the northwest and is located at the front of the choir. The building is stylistically attributed to the Rhine mannerism. Due to the many similarities of the design and the execution of both the Jesuit church in Molsheim and Church of the Assumption in Cologne the church is attributed to the Baroque architect Christoph Wamser. However, the vertically structured facade of the Renaissance-building remained unfinished until 1891 when the historistic architect Peter Friedrich Peters added some parts. In the niches there were once small statues, but they were stolen a few years later. The now empty niches are illuminated today. During the Second World War the building was badly damaged, the reconstruction of simplified roof was held until 1951. Orthodox paintings in the interior were added in 1997 and 2002 by the artist Christophanis Voutsinas.References:
Ceský Sternberk Castle is an early Gothic castle which was constructed, named and still owned by members of the same family. Today it is a residence that bears a long historical and architectural heritage and represents an attractive tourist destination open to the public. It is considered one of the best preserved Gothic Bohemian castles.
The castle was initially built in 1241 by Zdeslav of Divisov, later called Zdeslav Sternberg. The development of new firearms in the 14th century posed an unexpected threat to the defensibility of the castle. Its 13th century architects hadn't foreseen the danger of long-range firearms and its reinforcement became a necessity. During this period the Ceský Sternberk castle's fortifications were improved through the construction in the north of a three-story tower, which was connected to the castle by a rampart. In 1467 the castle was seized by the royal armies of George of Podébrady. Later, the ruined castle was regained by Sternberk's aristocracy, who, by the turn of the 15th to 16th century, had reconstructed the castle, renewed its defensive system and expanded it with the construction of a new cylindrical tower in the south and the Dungeon in the north. The castle managed to survive the looting of the rebels in 1627, during the Thirty Years' War. With the death of Jan Václav in 1712, the Holicý branch of the Sternberg family died out and its ownership passed to other families, who in 1751 built the lower palace next to the surrounding wall.
The ownership of the castle was returned to the Sternberg family in 1841 when Zdenék of Sternberg from the Konopisté branch of the family bought it. It remained in Sternberg's ownership until 1949 when it was nationalized by the Communist government of the Republic of Czechoslovakia. After the fall of Communism and the Velvet Revolution, in 1992, Ceský Sternberk castle returned to Jirí's son, the count Zdenék Sternberg, the current owner of the castle.
Ceský Sternberk Castle was originally built as a Gothic castle. Eventually it underwent several periods of reconstructions and further fortification and the Gothic architectural features were in parts concealed by the new reconstructions. Especially the interiors of the castle were realized under the Baroque and Rococo styles. In 1760, the master Carlo Brentano performed the elaborate stuccoing and renderings of the halls' interiors. The castle offers a rare collection of 545 copper engravings, depicting the entire history of the Thirty Years' War. Also, historical weapons and hunting trophies are exhibited within the castle's halls.