The original structure of Scharfenstein castle was built in 1250. It is suspected that the von Waldenburgs ordered its construction, but only its first owner occupant is known for certain. When, in the 15th century, Greifenstein Castle was destroyed, Scharfenstein also took over the guardianship of Thum, Ehrenfriedersdorf and Geyer. As a result, its value increased, so that in 1439 the Elector acquired the area from the Waldenburgs who were heavily indebted to him. On 26 January 1492 Henry of Einsiedel bought Scharfenstein Castle and its associated villages of Grießbach, Großolbersdorf, Grünau, Hohndorf Hopfgarten and Scharfenstein It remained in the family until 1931.
Following a fire during the night of 1st-2nd June 1921 the entire residential wing and part of the domestic wing was destroyed. From 1921 to 1923 the damaged wings were partially rebuilt to plans by Bodo Ebhardt, based on the old design.
In 1931, a factory owner, Captain Eulitz from Fährbrücke, acquires possession. By his efforts in 1932 in a bird observatory was established. Hundreds of nest boxes were put up throughout the 325 hectares of woodland on the estate; bird-ringing was carried out and scientific reports published, with the support of the Chemnitz Ornithological Society.
In 1945 this forest was seized and made public property, the castle was initially used as the mining school for the state-owned Wismut mining company and, in 1951, a special children's home was established here for maladjusted boys. In 1967, it was converted into a detention centre for juvenile delinquents. Ornithological work was undertaken by the museum at Augustusburg Castle.
In 1993 the castle was taken over by the Saxon Palace Department of the Free State of Saxony. In the period that followed the castle was renovated as a historic monument and converted into a museum. In 1995, on the completion of the renovation work, various exhibitions were opened - and for the first time since 1945, the castle was again open to the public. The bergfried is still used today as an observation tower.References:
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius is a world famous spiritual centre of the Russian Orthodox Church and a popular site of pilgrimage and tourism. It is the most important working Russian monastery and a residence of the Patriarch. This religious and military complex represents an epitome of the growth of Russian architecture and contains some of that architecture’s finest expressions. It exerted a profound influence on architecture in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe.
The Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, was founded in 1337 by the monk Sergius of Radonezh. Sergius achieved great prestige as the spiritual adviser of Dmitri Donskoi, Great Prince of Moscow, who received his blessing to the battle of Kulikov of 1380. The monastery started as a little wooden church on Makovets Hill, and then developed and grew stronger through the ages.
Over the centuries a unique ensemble of more than 50 buildings and constructions of different dates were established. The whole complex was erected according to the architectural concept of the main church, the Trinity Cathedral (1422), where the relics of St. Sergius may be seen.
In 1476 Pskovian masters built a brick belfry east of the cathedral dedicated to the Descent of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles. The church combines unique features of early Muscovite and Pskovian architecture. A remarkable feature of this church is a bell tower under its dome without internal interconnection between the belfry and the cathedral itself.
The Cathedral of the Assumption, echoing the Cathedral of the Assumption in the Moscow Kremlin, was erected between 1559 and 1585. The frescoes of the Assumption Cathedral were painted in 1684. At the north-western corner of the Cathedral, on the site of the western porch, in 1780 a vault containing burials of Tsar Boris Godunov and his family was built.
In the 16th century the monastery was surrounded by 6 meters high and 3,5 meters thick defensive walls, which proved their worth during the 16-month siege by Polish-Lithuanian invaders during the Time of Trouble. They were later strengthened and expanded.
After the Upheaval of the 17th century a large-scale building programme was launched. At this time new buildings were erected in the north-western part of the monastery, including infirmaries topped with a tented church dedicated to Saints Zosima and Sawatiy of Solovki (1635-1637). Few such churches are still preserved, so this tented church with a unique tiled roof is an important contribution to the Lavra.
In the late 17th century a number of new buildings in Naryshkin (Moscow) Baroque style were added to the monastery.
Following a devastating fire in 1746, when most of the wooden buildings and structures were destroyed, a major reconstruction campaign was launched, during which the appearance of many of the buildings was changed to a more monumental style. At this time one of the tallest Russian belfries (88 meters high) was built.
In the late 18th century, when many church lands were secularized, the chaotic planning of the settlements and suburbs around the monastery was replaced by a regular layout of the streets and quarters. The town of Sergiev Posad was surrounded by traditional ramparts and walls. In the vicinity of the monastery a number of buildings belonging to it were erected: a stable yard, hotels, a hospice, a poorhouse, as well as guest and merchant houses. Major highways leading to the monastery were straightened and marked by establishing entry squares, the overall urban development being oriented towards the centrepiece - the Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra.
In 1993, the Trinity Lavra was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.