Flaran Abbey is a former Cistercian abbey located in Valence-sur-Baïse. The abbey was founded in 1151, as a daughter house of Escaladieu Abbey, at the confluence of the Auloue and Baïserivers, between the towns of Condom and Auch. The abbey was founded by Burgundian monks and today represents one of the best preserved abbeys in the south-west of France.
After its foundation, Flaran Abbey experienced rapid growth. In the middle of the 13th century, the abbey, jointly with Gerald V, Count of Armagnac, founded the fortified town of Valence-sur-Baïse on a hillside on the other side of the Baïse river.
The abbey did not escape the vicissitudes of history, beginning with the Hundred Years' War, which ended with the Plantagenet county of Gascony being realigned with France. Engulfed by fire during the French Wars of Religion, the abbey was restored by subsequent abbots, but was suppressed and sold off during the French Revolution.
In 1913, the Archaeological Society of Gers intervened so that the abbey would not end up in the architectural collection of George Grey Barnard that resulted in The Cloisters museum in New York City.
The site was purchased by the department of Gers in 1972 and underwent an intense restoration project; it is now the site of numerous cultural activities. The site houses a permanent exhibition on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, the Way of St. James.References:
First record of Kastelholma (or Kastelholm) castle is from the year 1388 in the contract of Queen Margaret I of Denmark, where a large portion of the inheritance of Bo Jonsson Grip was given to the queen. The heyday of the castle was in the 15th and 16th centuries when it was administrated by Danish and Swedish kings and stewards of the realms. Kastelhoma was expanded and enhanced several times.
In the end of 16th century castle was owned by the previous queen Catherine Jagellon (Stenbock), an enemy of the King of Sweden Eric XIV. King Eric conquered Kastelholma in 1599 and all defending officers were taken to Turku and executed. The castle was damaged under the siege and it took 30 years to renovate it.
In 1634 Åland was joined with the County of Åbo and Björneborg and Kastelholma lost its administrative status.