Motya was an ancient and powerful Phoenician city on San Pantaleo Island. Many of the city's impressive ancient monuments have been excavated and can be admired today.
The city, founded at the end of the 8th century BC, soon became one of the most important Phoenician colonies; thanks to its proximity to Africa it was one of the first obligatory transit routes towards Spain, Sardinia and Central Italy.The Phoenicians traded with the Greek colonies present in Sicily, but not all their contacts were of a friendly nature, and a series of battles and wars eventually culminated in the destruction of Motya by Dionysius of Syracuse in 397 BC.
During the Middle Ages, Basilian monks settled on the island and renamed it San Pantaleo.
Fragments of the walls, with those of two gateways, still exist, and coins as well as pieces of ancient brick and pottery were found scattered throughout the island.
The island of Mozia is owned and operated by the Whitaker Foundation (Palermo), famous for Marsala wines. Tours are available for the small museum, and the well-preserved ruins of a crossroads civilisation: in addition to the cultures mentioned above, Motian artifacts display Egyptian, Corinthian, Attic, Roman, Punic and Hellenic influences. The Tophet, a type of cemetery for the cremated remains of children, possibly (but not entirely proven) as sacrifice to Tanit or Ba‘al Hammon, is also well known. Many of the ancient residences are open to the public, with guided tours in English and Italian.References:
The Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.