The monastery of Saint Martin of Tours at Muri was founded in 1027 by Radbot, Count of Habsburg, one of the progenitors of the House of Habsburg. Rha, a daughter of Frederick, Duke of Lower Lorraine, and Werner, Bishop of Strasburg, each donated a portion of land to a monastery which they established there. A colony of monks was drawn from the nearby Einsiedeln Abbey, under the leadership of Prior Reginbold. On his death in 1055, Burchard was chosen as the monastery's first abbot. During his rule the abbey church was consecrated in 1064.
About this time, the community was reinforced by the accession of a new colony of monks from the Abbey of St. Blaise in the Black Forest, one of whom, the Blessed Luitfrid, continued the government of both communities till his death 31 December 1096. The monastery pursued its quiet work of religion and civilization under the leadership of able abbots.
The abbey had its vicissitudes of good and bad fortune. It was laid low by two disastrous fires, in 1300 and in 1363; wars and uprisings checked for a time its prosperity. It recovered something of its old life under Abbot Conrad II, only to suffer again during the abbacy of his successor, George Russinger, in the war between the Swiss Confederacy and the Habsburgs.
Russinger, who had taken part in the Council of Constance (1414-1418), set out to reform the abbey and joined it to the newly formed Congregation of Bursfelde, a union of Benedictine monasteries, both of men and of women, founded in 1446 to promote the reform of Benedictine practice.
In the 1530s, the abbey was attacked by troops from Bern, a leading - and newly Protestant - member of the Swiss Confederacy. It survived thanks to Abbot Laurentius von Heidegg (1508–1540), who was friends with Heinrich Bullinger, the leading reformer of Zürich.
The rule of Abbot Jakob Meyer, a member of a noble family from Lucerne, proved an economic disaster. Meyer was eventually forced out of office in 1596 and replaced by John Jodoc Singisen, who proved himself a second founder of his monastery, who extended his care to the other Benedictine houses of Switzerland and was one of the founders of the Swiss Congregation established in 1602. Largely through his efforts discipline was restored; monks of piety and letters went forth from Muri to re-people the half-full cloisters; by his wisdom suitable constitutions were drawn up for such communities of nuns as had survived so many revolutions. His successor, Dom Dominic Tschudi, was a man of like mould, and a scholar whose works were held in great repute. He was born at Baden in 1595 and died there in 1654.
With the eighteenth century fresh honours came to Muri. The Emperor Leopold I raised Abbot Placid Zurlauben, and his successor, to the rank of princes of the Holy Roman Empire, and spent a vast sum of money in rebuilding and embellishing the monastery and church, the ancient mausoleum of the imperial family. The abbey continued to prosper in every way; good discipline was kept up and many distinguished ecclesiastics and learned men were educated within its walls.
With the spread of the French Revolution, the Canton of Aargau set out to drive out religious institutions. Muri, after a long resistance, was obliged to submit. Its abbot, an old man, had withdrawn to the monastery of Engelberg, more favourably situated, and there died on 5 November 1838, leaving his successor, D. Adalbert Regli, to deal with the situation after the canton closed the abbey in 1841. Despite their expulsion from Muri, the community never wholly disbanded; the abbot and some of the monks found a welcome in the Canton of Unterwalden, which invited them to undertake the management of the cantonal college at Sarnen. There the main body of the monks resided, until the Austrian Emperor, Ferdinand I, offered them a residence at Gries near Bozen in Tyrol, in an old priory of Canons Regular of the Lateran which had been unoccupied since 1807. The Holy See concurred in the grant, and confirmed the transfer of the community of Muri to Gries by a Brief of Gregory XVI, dated 16 September 1844. In order to avoid complications the house of Gries was continued in its former status as a priory and incorporated with the Swiss Abbey of Muri, which is regarded as temporarily located in its Austrian dependency, the Abbot of Muri being at the same time Prior of Gries.
The abbey of Muri had been a favoured burial place of the House of Habsburg. In the 20th century, the hearts of the last reigning Imperial couple, Emperor Charles I of Austria (now the Blessed Charles of Austria, 1887–1922) and Empress Zita of Bourbon-Parma (1892–1989) are in the family crypt in the Loreto Chapel, as are the bodies of their sons Rudolf and Felix.References:
The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.
The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.
Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.
The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.
Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.
The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.
During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.
In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.