Taymouth Castle lies on the south bank of the River Tay, about a mile from Loch Tay, in the heartland of the Grampian Mountains.
Taymouth Castle stands on the site of the much older Balloch Castle, which was built in 1552, as the seat of the Campbell clan. In the early 19th century, Balloch Castle was demolished by the Campbells of Breadalbane, so that the new, much larger castle could be rebuilt on the site. The new castle's blue-grey stone was taken from the quarry at Bolfracks.
Built in a neo-Gothic style and on a lavish scale, Taymouth Castle is regarded as the most important Scottish castle in private ownership. Its public rooms are outstanding examples of the workmanship of the finest craftsmen of the 19th century. No expense was spared on the castle's interior, which was decorated with extravagant carvings, plasterwork and murals. Panels of medieval stained glass and Renaissance woodwork were incorporated into the scheme. Much of this decor still survives.
Francis Bernasconi, acknowledged as the greatest designer of fine plasterwork of the era, created the magnificent central staircase, that connects all four storeys of the central tower. Many of the ceilings were painted by Cornelius Dixon.
The castle is a Category A listed building, and the grounds, which include parklands and woodlands, are included in the Inventory of Gardens and Designed Landscapes, the national listing of significant gardens.References:
Spišskà Kapitula, a unique fortified ecclesiastical ensemble, began as a small fortified settlement overlooking Spišské Podhradie in the 12th century. It was the site of the residence of the Provost of the castle, in the no longer extant St Martin"s monastery, and later became a capitulary. This was destroyed in by Tatars in 1241-1243, but the pilgrim"s chapel, in rotunda form and dedicated to the Virgin, survived until the 18th century and the monastery until the 15th century.
The complex of buildings there is based on the Cathedral of St Martin, where building began in 1285 as a three-aisled Romanesque basilica with a chancel at the west end and a double spire. It owes its present form to successive remodellings and additions in the Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque styles.
The Provost's residence was completed in 1281 and further religious buildings were added. Frequent raids by marauding Bulgars and others led to its being fortified in the 14th century. The cathedral was rebuilt in the later 14th century. In 1776 it became the residence of the Bishop and four years later a seminary was established. In 1819 the first teacher training centre in Hungary was founded there.
The Bishop's Palace is largely Baroque, with some excellent interior decorations, like many of the religious buildings in the group. The oval ground plan of the centre of the town is due to its having been fortified in the 14th century. The various religious buildings had defensive functions in this early period. New monastery buildings were erected when the provost"s residence was rebuilt and the whole area fortified. The earlier central fortifications were removed in the 18th century.
Spišské Kapitula is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site Levoča, Spiš Castle and the associated cultural monuments.