Like a giant beehive, the sandstone monolith Mount Oybin rises out of a valley in the Zittau Mountains. An ideal place for a castle, thought Emperor Charles IV, and started building the imperial house there in 1364 as his retirement home. In 1369 he also founded a monastery for the Celestines, which was dissolved in the wake of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation in the first half of the 16th century. Neglect and natural disasters in the course of time led to severe damage to monastery and castle. After the court painter Johann Alexander Thiele had rediscovered the ruins, overgrown by nature, he was followed by such Romantic painters as Caspar David Friedrich, Carl Gustav Carus and Adrian Zingg, who worked at Dresden’s Art Academy. Today the grounds are again open to the public and offer fine views of Germany’s smallest low mountain range as well as a glimpse into the history of the monastery and castle. The impressive ruins of the abbey church are now used as a backdrop for concerts and theater performances. The remains of the imperial house have also survived. The whole ensemble is part of the Via Sacra, a tourist route in the tri-border area between Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. The holy cultural route leads to unique religious buildings and art treasures and is marked by sixteen stations.