The Royal Gniezno Cathedral served as the coronation place for several Polish monarchs and as the seat of Polish church officials continuously for nearly 1000 years. Throughout its long and tragic history, the building stayed mostly intact making it one of the oldest and most precious sacral monuments in Poland.
The cathedral played an outstanding role in the history of Poland, serving as the stronghold capital of the first Piasts, and as the starting point for Bishop Adalbert’s Christianising mission to Prussia in 997. It was here that the Holy Roman Emperor Otto III came in pilgrimage in the year 1000 to visit St Adalbert’s grave, and here that in 1025 the coronation of Boleslaus I the Brave took place (and later that of his successors - Mieszko II and Boleslaus II the Bold). In 1018 part of the stronghold settlement and cathedral were destroyed by fire, and a new church was built to replace the pre-Romanesque one at the decree of Boleslaus I. This three-aisled cathedral basilica featured two towers, though little of it survives. It was damaged in 1038 during a raid on Poland by Bretislaus, Duke of Bohemia, and in 1331, when attacked by the Teutonic Knights.
Relict remains of these earlier buildings are concealed within the walls of the present Gothic cathedral, which was built around the mid-14th century thanks to Archbishop Jarosław Bogoria Skotnicki. The first stage of this project saw the construction of a chancel with an ambulatory and a series of radiating chapels around it. In later years (up to 1512) the nave and towers were built. Further restructuring obscured the cathedral’s Gothic form, which was ultimately restored in the 1950s. Chapels which were built or partially remodelled in the 17th and 18th centuries to make burial chapels for bishops and canons, are sealed off by wrought-iron screens (14th-18th century) set in Baroque portals made of dark and pale marble.
The most famous works of art in the cathedral are the Gniezno Doors and the coffin containing the relics of St Adalbert. The Gniezno Doors, fitted in the Gothic portal of the south entrance, represent one of the finest examples of Romanesque metalwork in Europe. The pair of doors, cast in bronze in c. 1170, are of uneven size and, interestingly, one of them was cast in one piece whilst the other is made up of 24 sections soldered together. The surface of each door is divided into nine low relief panels depicting scenes from the life and death of St Adalbert.References:
Glimmingehus, is the best preserved medieval stronghold in Scandinavia. It was built 1499-1506, during an era when Scania formed a vital part of Denmark, and contains many defensive arrangements of the era, such as parapets, false doors and dead-end corridors, 'murder-holes' for pouring boiling pitch over the attackers, moats, drawbridges and various other forms of death traps to surprise trespassers and protect the nobles against peasant uprisings. The lower part of the castle's stone walls are 2.4 meters (94 inches) thick and the upper part 1.8 meters (71 inches).
Construction was started in 1499 by the Danish knight Jens Holgersen Ulfstand and stone-cutter-mason and architect Adam van Düren, a North German master who also worked on Lund Cathedral. Construction was completed in 1506.
Ulfstand was a councillor, nobleman and admiral serving under John I of Denmark and many objects have been uncovered during archeological excavations that demonstrate the extravagant lifestyle of the knight's family at Glimmingehus up until Ulfstand's death in 1523. Some of the most expensive objects for sale in Europe during this period, such as Venetian glass, painted glass from the Rhine district and Spanish ceramics have been found here. Evidence of the family's wealth can also be seen inside the stone fortress, where everyday comforts for the knight's family included hot air channels in the walls and bench seats in the window recesses. Although considered comfortable for its period, it has also been argued that Glimmingehus was an expression of "Knighthood nostalgia" and not considered opulent or progressive enough even to the knight's contemporaries and especially not to later generations of the Scanian nobility. Glimmingehus is thought to have served as a residential castle for only a few generations before being transformed into a storage facility for grain.
An order from Charles XI to the administrators of the Swedish dominion of Scania in 1676 to demolish the castle, in order to ensure that it would not fall into the hands of the Danish king during the Scanian War, could not be executed. A first attempt, in which 20 Scanian farmers were ordered to assist, proved unsuccessful. An additional force of 130 men were sent to Glimmingehus to execute the order in a second attempt. However, before they could carry out the order, a Danish-Dutch naval division arrived in Ystad, and the Swedes had to abandon the demolition attempts. Throughout the 18th century the castle was used as deposit for agricultural produce and in 1924 it was donated to the Swedish state. Today it is administered by the Swedish National Heritage Board.
On site there is a museum, medieval kitchen, shop and restaurant and coffee house. During summer time there are several guided tours daily. In local folklore, the castle is described as haunted by multiple ghosts and the tradition of storytelling inspired by the castle is continued in the summer events at the castle called "Strange stories and terrifying tales".