St. Peter and St. Paul's Church in Vilnius. Its interior has masterful compositions of stucco mouldings by Giovanni Pietro Perti and ornamentation by Giovanni Maria Galli of Milan, and is considered a Lithuanian Baroque masterpiece.
It is believed that the first wooden church was built on this location after Jogaila's conversion. It was rebuilt at the end of 15th century, but was destroyed by a fire in 1594. Another wooden church was built between 1609–1616, but it also was destroyed during the wars with Russia in 1655–1661.
The construction of the new church was paid for by the Great Lithuanian Hetman Michał Kazimierz Pac in celebration of the victory against the Russians and the suppression of Lubomirski's Rokosz. A large Turkish war drum (timpano) is on display in the church. It was seized from the Ottomans in the Battle of Khotyn of 11 November 1673, won by the Commonwealth forces, and granted to the church by Michał Kazimierz Pac.
The construction works of the present church started in 1668 under the supervision of Jan Zaor from Kraków and finished in 1676 by Giambattista Frediani. The decoration works were unfortunately terminated in 1684 due to the founder's death in 1682, which prevented creating the main altar according to the original design. The decoration works were finally completed only in 1704.
The main altar, smaller than planned, was built in the beginning of 19th century by Giovanni Beretti and Nicolae Piano from Milan. It is dominated by the Farewell of St. Peter and St. Paul, a large drawing by Franciszek Smuglewicz, installed there in 1805.
St. Peter and St. Paul's Church is a basilica built on a traditional cross plan with a lantern dome allowing extra light into its white interior. The freestanding columns of the main facade were used for the first time in Lithuanian ecclesiastical architecture. The inscription surrounding the base of the dome is the same as that of St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. The church is decorated with over 2000 religious depictions. The frescos are attributed to Johann Gotthard Berchhoff. The female heads opposite the St. Augustine Chapel represent two sister nations: Poland and Lithuania.References:
The moated castle at Beersel is one of the few exceptionally well-preserved examples of medieval fortifications in Belgium. It remains pretty much as it must have appeared in the 15th century. Remarkably, it was never converted into a fortified mansion. A visitor is able to experience at first-hand how it must have felt to live in a heavily fortified castle in the Middle Ages.
The castle was built in around 1420 as a means of defence on the outer reaches of Brussels. The tall, dense walls and towers were intended to hold any besiegers at bay. The moat and the marshy ground along its eastern, southern and western edges made any attack a formidable proposition. For that reason, any attackers would have chosen its weaker northern defences where the castle adjoins higher lying ground. But the castle was only taken and destroyed on one occasion in 1489, by the inhabitants of Brussels who were in rebellion against Maximilian of Austria.
After being stormed and plundered by the rebels it was partially rebuilt. The pointed roofs and stepped gables are features which have survived this period. The reconstruction explains why two periods can be identified in the fabric of the edifice, particularly on the outside.
The red Brabant sandstone surrounds of the embrasures, now more or less all bricked up, are characteristic of the 15th century. The other embrasures, edged with white sandstone, date from the end of the 15th century. They were intended for setting up the artillery fire. The merlons too are in white sandstone. The year 1617 can be clearly seen in the foundation support on the first tower. This refers to restorations carried out at the time by the Arenberg family.
Nowadays, the castle is dominated by three massive towers. The means of defence follow the classic pattern: a wide, deep moat surrounding the castle, a drawbridge, merlons on the towers, embrasures in the walls and in the towers, at more or less regular intervals, and machiolations. Circular, projecting towers ensured that attacks from the side could be thwarted. If the enemy were to penetrate the outer wall, each tower could be defended from embrasures facing onto the inner courtyard.
The second and third towers are flanked by watchtowers from which shots could be fired directly below. Between the second and third tower are two openings in the walkway on the wall. It is not clear what these were used for. Were these holes used for the disposing of rubbish, or escape routes. The windows on the exterior are narrow and low. All light entering comes from the interior. The few larger windows on the exterior date from a later period. It is most probable that the third tower - the highest - was used as a watchtower.