Königsfelden Monastery is a former Franciscan double monastery, which housed both a community of Poor Clare nuns and one of Franciscan friars, living in separate wings. It was founded in 1308 by the Habsburgs. In the course of the Protestant Reformation in Switzerland in 1528 it was secularized, and the complex was then the residence of the bailiffs of Bern.
On May 1, 1308, King Albert I of Austria was murdered by his nephew John Parricida in the community of Windisch. In memory of this event his widow, Elizabeth of Carinthia, founded the monastery about 1310-11 at the site, approximately 200 meters from Brugg. The monastic complex centered around the contemplative life of the nuns, while the small community of friars tended to both their spiritual needs and that of the surrounding community.
Albert and Elisabeth’s oldest daughter, Agnes of Austria, the widow of King Andrew III of Hungary, moved to Königsfelden in 1317 and helped it to thrive, but did not join the monastery.
With the conquest of the Western Aargau by the city of Bern, the monastery lost its connection with the Habsburg family. It was abolished in the course of the success of the Reformation in Switzerland in 1528. The complex then served as the seat of the Bernese bailiffs of the Königsfelden district, a steward took over the administration of former monastic property.
In 1804 the former monastery became the property of the canton of Aargau, which had been founded in the year before. The new canton established a mental hospital. In 1872 a new building was built and since 1887 it has been a psychiatric clinic. During the construction a large part of the Franciscan monastery was demolished.References:
Steinvikholm Castle is an island fortress built between 1525 to 1532 by Norway's last Catholic archbishop, Olav Engelbrektsson. Steinvikholm castle became the most powerful fortification by the time it was built, and it is the largest construction raised in the Norwegian Middle Ages.
The castle occupies about half of the land on the rocky island. The absence of a spring meant that fresh water had to be brought from the mainland. A wooden bridge served as the only way to the island other than boat. Although the castle design was common across Europe in 1525, its medieval design was becoming obsolete because of the improved siege firepower offered by gunpowder and cannons.
The castle was constructed after Olav Engelbrektsson returned from a meeting with the Pope in Rome, presumably in anticipation of impending military-religious conflict. As Archbishop Engelbrektsson's resistance to the encroachment of Danish rule escalated, first with Frederick I of Denmark and his successor Christian III of Denmark, Steinvikholm Castle and Nidarholm Abbey became the Catholic Church's military strongholds in Norway. In April 1537, the Danish-Norwegian Reformation succeeded in driving the archbishop from the castle into exile in Lier in the Netherlands (now in Belgium), where he died on 7 February 1538. At the castle the archbishop left behind St. Olav's shrine and other treasures from Nidaros Cathedral (Trondheim). The original coffin containing St. Olav's body remained at Steinvikholm until it was returned to Nidaros Cathedral in 1564. Since 1568 St. Olav's grave in Nidaros has been unknown.
From the 17th to 19th century, the island was used as a quarry and some of its masonry was sold and removed from the site. This activity was condoned by the Danish-Norwegian authorities as a way of eliminating a monument to the opposition of the Danish–Norwegian Union.
Steinvikholm fort is owned and operated today by The society for the Preservation of Norwegian Ancient Monuments. The island has been the site of the midnight opera which details the life and struggles of the archbishop. The opera is held in August annually. The opera is organized by Steinvikholm Musikkteater since the beginning in 1993.