The first mention of Sanok is found in 12th-century chronicles. The stronghold was destroyed in the 13th century during the Tatar invasion in 1241. In the 14th century the town of Sanok became fortified and a defensive castle was built.
During the reign of King Władysław Jagiełło, his wedding with Elisabeth of Pilica took place at the castle on May 2, 1417. The town and district authorities with a castellan at the top had their seat at the Sanok castle. In 1425, it was established the Higher Court of German law at the Sanok Castle. It was also a residence of the King's fourth wife Sophia of Halshany until her death in 1461.
Queen Bona Sforza ordered the rebuilding of the Gothic castle in the Renaissance style between 1523-1548. Between 1555-1556, the castle was the seat of Isabella Jagiellon, Queen of Hungary, after her escape from Transylvania. At the end of the 16th century, the castle underwent further expansion: the south wing was built at that time. At the turn of the 18th century the north wing was added. During the Napoleonic Wars, the castle was successfully defended against the Austrian forces by General Franciszek Ksawery Krasicki, who was the leader of the anti-Austrian uprising in the Sanok Region.
In 1915, after the Russian invasion, the South wing was demolished. In the interwar period the castle served as the Museum of Sanok. The Museum, established in 1934 by the Society of Friends of the Region of Sanok, had at first collections of the Sanok region, weapons and arms — the history of the town and castle of Sanok, furniture, artistic craftsmanship. With the beginning of World War II in September 1939, the castle was ransacked. In August 1944, the local German authorities looted the oldest surviving monuments of Polish culture, some of which were retrieved by the Polish Government after the war. Its collections were transferred to the castle where, since 1945, they have formed part of the Historical Museum, added to the latter's collection are some 200 icons from Lemko villages.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).