Weesenstein castle was erected here sometime around 1200, built with the purpose of defending the border to the Kingdom of Bohemia; it was mentioned in written sources for the first time in 1318. The oldest part of the presently visible castle is its central round tower, erected sometime around 1300. The castle was built for the burgraves of Dohna; the burgraviate was incorporated in the Margraviate of Meissen in 1400 and in 1406 the castle was transferred by the margrave to the von Bünau family in gratitude for their support in the Dohna Feud.
The Bünau family transformed the defensive castle into a residential Schloss in 1526–1575, and successive generations would expand and rebuild the Schloss in stages. It continued to be the main seat of the family for about 350 years. As a consequence of the Seven Years' War of 1756–1763 the family however lost a substantial part of their wealth and had to part with the castle which subsequently passed into the hands of the von Uckermann family. The Uckermann family owned the castle for two generations and continued the process of embellishing the estate, not least the garden.
From 1830, the Schloss was used by the rulers of Saxony, the House of Wettin. Several members of the royal family lived in the castle, including three kings: Anthony of Saxony, John of Saxony and George of Saxony. After World War I, the castle was sold and in 1933 became the seat of an association for the protection of the heritage of Saxony. During World War II, the castle was used for safekeeping most of the art collections of the Dresden State Art Collections. Because of this, the castle and its contents were spared from destruction during the bombing of Dresden in World War II. After the war, the castle was used to house refugees before it was taken over by the state.
Today it belongs to the state-owned company State Palaces, Castles and Gardens of Saxony. It houses a museum and 35 of the rooms of the castle are open to the public.
The presently visible ensemble is the product of centuries of development and rebuilding. The castle is thus a mix of styles, ranging from Gothic architecture to Classical architecture. The main portal, built in 1575, is considered one of the most valuable Renaissance portals in Saxony, The Schloss is built on a rock with storeys descending from the central, medieval round tower (with its 18th-century spire). In total, the castle has eight storeys.
The castle contains around 200 rooms in total. The Baroque chapel, described as the 'architectural and artistic highlight of the entire castle', is thought to have been designed by Johann George Schmidt. A formal garden lies adjacent to the castle. An English landscape garden, one of the earliest to be created in Saxony (c. 1780), has since been overgrown.References:
The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.
The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.
The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.
The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.
Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.
Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.