In 1246, Counts Hartmann the Elder and Hartmann the Younger of Kyburg donated their lands, farms and forests in and around the village of Mülinen, as well as judicial rights over the village itself, to establish a Cistercian nunnery, which was placed under the authority of the abbot of Frienisberg in 1249 or 1250. It was called in Latin Fons beatae Mariae, in German Fraubrunnen, which replaced the existing village's original name of Mülinen. Over the following years it acquired further estates in a number of villages and vineyards on the shores of Lake Biel. It owned houses in Bern, Burgdorf and Solothurn and received the Burgrecht in those cities. The abbey became one of the wealthiest in the canton of Bern. The nuns generally came from families of the ministerialis class  or of the burghers of Bern.

The cloister and church were damaged and rebuilt following a fire in 1280 and again after a fire in 1375.

The Kyburgs held the position and title of Kastvogt. In 1406, the city of Bern acquired the land rights and judicial rights over the territory that included the abbey. After the extinction of the Kyburg family in 1420, the position and rights of Kastvogt also passed to Bern.

With these close ties to Bern, the abbey could not escape the effects of the Protestant Reformation. Between 1481 and 1512 the city attempted to limit the power of the abbess and to regulate the community. However, when Bern adopted the Reformation in 1528 the abbey was quickly secularized and the nuns were moved out.

The vacated buildings became a castle and administrative center of the bailiwick of Fraubrunnen in the Zollikofen district. In 1535 the church and the east wing were demolished. In 1569-74 the cloister passageways were expanded and covered to become corridors in the main building. In 1647-48 the west wing was converted into a granary. The castle was pillaged by the French during the 1798 French invasion. Under the Act of Mediation in 1803 the old Vogtei was dissolved and Fraubrunnen became the seat of a district of the same name.

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Founded: 1249
Category: Religious sites in Switzerland

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Hagios Demetrios

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.