Wildeck Castle was built originally in the 12th century, by only the keep is left from that. Prince elector Moritz of Saxony had the medieval fortress re-designed into a hunting lodge between 1545 and 1547. The building is characterized be the tower “Slim Margarethe” with its curved roof hood and its dominant gables. Up until the year 1911, different hunting administrations had their seats at Zschopau’s castle. At the beginning, there were Dukes, followed by prince electoral and finally it became a hunter’s seat of the King of Saxony. Unfortunately, the ancient collection of hunting trophies does not exist anymore. However, according to an old register, there had been an assortment of 112 horns and antlers.
Throughout the 19th century, the eastern part of the building had been extended, in which the Expedition of the Kingly Court was located. Later, the district court moved in. In 1855, the western part of the castle was extended and a prison including a courtyard was accommodated there. Wildeck Castle was transferred into municipal ownership in 1994 and has been gradually restored since.
After extensive restoration throughout the last years, Wildeck Castle presents itself in its former glory. A variety of renaissance styled rooms, such as the Blue and White Parlour and the Red and Green Halls, have been re-opened for visitors and guests.
Learn during a guided tour about the history of the fortress, be delighted by the beautiful view from the halls and the keep’s cisterns, and realize yourself the exposed position of the castle high above the river Zschopau. The baroque garden and the completely refurbished castle walkway with its scented roses, fruit trees sculptures and idyllic spots invite our guests to stay and calm down.References:
The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.
Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.
The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.
As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).