Eskilstuna's history dates back to medieval times when English monk Saint Eskil made "Tuna" his base and diocese of the South coast of Lake Mälaren. Saint Eskil was stoned to death by the pagan vikings of neighbouring town Strängnäs, trying to convert them to Christianity. Saint Eskil was buried in his monastery church in Tuna. Later the pagan city of Strängnäs was Christianised and was given the privilege of becoming diocese of South Lake Mälaren.
Later "Eskil" was added in to the word "Tuna". However, the town of Eskilstuna did not receive municipal privileges due to its proximity to the medieval city of Torshälla. The monastery of Saint Eskil was completely destroyed by Swedish king Gustav Vasa during the Protestant Reformation.
The present Kloster Kyrka, a monastery church, was built according to plans by architect Otar Hökerberg . It was opened May 29, 1929. Above the main entrance is a sculpture depicting Saint Eskil. The entrance door to the church is surrounded by paintings of the apostles Paul and Peter. The old altar is high and wide staircases of stone leading up from the nave. The altarpiece from the 1600s is the work of the Flemish master Martin de Vos and represents the shepherds' adoration.References:
Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.
The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.
In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.
Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.
About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.
Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.
A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.