Hattula Church is one of the oldest brick buildings in Finland. It was built in the 15th century and dedicated to the Holy Cross. Wall paintings are from the 16th century. The porch in front of the hall was built in the 16th century of grey stone and bell tower in 1813.
Unique for having been built almost entirely of brick rather than stone, the church was a popular pilgrimage destination during the Middle Ages. A grey stone perimeter wall was added in the 16th century. The church contains paintings from the years 1510 through 1922, as well as 40 wooden sculptures dating to the first half of the 14th century. Precious-metal crowns which had formerly belonged to the church were confiscated during the Reformation. The church pulpit, dating to 1550, is the oldest surviving pulpit in Finland. A second pulpit was built in the 17th century.
The Hattula church is known for its lime paint frescoes done in late Gothic style, likely completed by the same group of artists who later painted the St. Lars church in Lohja.
Castel del Monte, located in the municipality of Andria, rises on a rocky hill dominating the surrounding countryside of the Murgia region. A unique piece of medieval architecture, it was completed in 1240. The castle’s location, its perfect octagonal shape, as well as the mathematical and astronomical precision of its layout all reflect the broad education and cultural vision of its founder, Emperor Frederick II.
As a leader of modern humanism, the Germanic Emperor brought scholars together in his court from throughout the Mediterranean, combining Eastern and Western traditions. The castle’s unique design, an octagonal plan with octagonal towers at each angle, represents a search for perfection. Interior features reflect Eastern influences, such as the innovative hydraulic installation used by Frederick II for bathing in accord to the typical Arabic customs.
The site is of outstanding universal value in its formal perfection and its harmonious blending of cultural elements from northern Europe, the Muslim world and classical antiquity. Castel del Monte is a unique masterpiece of medieval architecture, reflecting the humanist ideas of its founder, Frederick II of Hohenstaufen.