Sassari Cathedral is dedicated to Saint Nicholas and is the seat of the Archbishop of Sassari. It was built in the Romanesque style in the 12th century. The present building also includes Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical elements. Construction was finished in the 18th century.
Gothic vaults, a baroque façade and classical décor are the result of reconstruction work, while its roots are ancient and humble, linked to the origins of the city. The first mention of the church is in the Condaghe of San Pietro di Silki dating back to 1135. It was built over an early Christian building, the remains of which can be seen beneath the apse. The first reconstruction took place in the 13th century in Romanesque style: still remaining is the bell tower, standing to the left of the temple, to which a turret with a small dome was added five centuries later. In the second half of the 15th century, now upgraded to the rank of cathedral, San Nicola took on a Gothic-Catalan style. After more than two centuries, other works gave it its current appearance, which will strike you with its splendid baroque façade. It has three orders: a portico with three rounded arches with an entrance portal, three niches decorated with the statues of Sassari's martyrs Gavino, Proto and Gianuario, and a large pediment with a single niche, where there is the simulacrum of St Nicholas. At the top, there is a sculpture of God Almighty.
After crossing through the portico, which has a starred cross-vault, you will enter the single large nave, divided into two spans with eight chapels. Look up at the ribs of the vaults, following their rhythm to the junction with the transept, where you will see a Renaissance-inspired cupola. Looking further down, you will see the greater altar made of marble, in classical style (dated 1690), with Corinthian capitals. Above the altar, there is the Madonna del Bosco (Madonna of the Forest), a painting of the Sienese school (14th century). In the transept, you will notice the chapel of the Most Blessed Sacrament, with a Late Baroque altar in which there is the Coena Domini, a painting dating back to the 19th century, while on the left there is the chapel named after St Anna, with the sculpture of the Mausoleum of Placido Benedetto of Savoy. Behind the altar, the apse has two areas: in one, there is a wooden 18th century choir. These are among the many treasures in the cathedral, a treasure chest of paintings and sculptures by artists from the 16th to 19th centuries.
In the centre of Sassari other places of worship stand out, like the churches of Santa Maria di Betlem and Sant'Apollinare, the oldest in the city, as well as Piazza d'Italia and Fontana di Rosello, its historical and cultural symbols and in Cavalcata Sarda and Discesa dei Candelieri, its most important festive celebrations.References:
The Château d'Olhain is probably the most famous castle of the Artois region. It is located in the middle of a lake which reflects its picturesque towers and curtain walls. It was also a major stronghold for the Artois in medieval times and testimony to the power of the Olhain family, first mentioned from the 12th century.
The existence of the castle was known early in the 13th century, but the present construction is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain at the end of the 15th century.
The marriage of Alix Nielles to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France (master of hounds) to the King, meant the castle passed to this family, who kept it for more than 450 years. Once confiscated by Charles Quint, it suffered during the wars that ravaged the Artois. Besieged in 1641 by the French, it was partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and finally blown-up and taken by the Dutch in 1710. Restored in 1830, it was abandoned after 1870, and sold by the last Prince of Berghes in 1900. There is also evidence that one of the castles occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the person Alexandre Dumas based his Three Musketeers charictor d'Artagnan on.
During the World War I and World War II, the castle was requisitioned first by French troops, then Canadian and British soldiers. The current owner has restored the castle to its former glory.