Victoria Tower is a monument erected in honor of a visit by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to the island in 1846. As the 1846 royal visit was the first time a reigning monarch had ever visited the island, a small granite stone was laid to mark where the queen had first stepped ashore in St Peter Port harbour. The following year, the architect William Colling was asked to draw up plans for a tower to commemorate the monarch"s visit.
The site chosen for Victoria Tower was an earthen mound opposite the Arsenal, where Guernsey"s militia were housed. On 27 May 1848 the first foundation stone was laid by the Governor of Guernsey, Major General John Bell, during a large ceremony. In the foundations of the tower was a time capsule containing Guernsey and English coins.
A public garden was later created, in which were placed two cannons captured from the Russians during the Crimean War these now sit on the ramparts of Castle Cornet. Years later, other guns were displayed in the garden, but these were scrapped or buried as the Second World War approaced, so that the invading German forces would think the island was not fortified. Two German guns that were buried were excavated in 1978 and are back in the garden.
In 1999 structural problems led to the tower"s being closed to the general public; it was re-opened on 24 May 2006, the birthday of Queen Victoria, during a re-enactment of the ceremony accompanying the laying of the foundation stone in 1848. The Lieutenant Governor, Vice Admiral Sir Fabian Malbon KBE, re-opened the tower in the presence of the Bailiff Geoffrey Rowland.References:
The Church of Our Lady before Týn is a dominant feature of the Old Town of Prague and has been the main church of this part of the city since the 14th century. The church's towers are 80 m high and topped by four small spires.
In the 11th century, this area was occupied by a Romanesque church, which was built there for foreign merchants coming to the nearby Týn Courtyard. Later it was replaced by an early Gothic Church of Our Lady before Týn in 1256. Construction of the present church began in the 14th century in the late Gothic style under the influence of Matthias of Arras and later Peter Parler. By the beginning of the 15th century, construction was almost complete; only the towers, the gable and roof were missing. The church was controlled by Hussites for two centuries, including John of Rokycan, future archbishop of Prague, who became the church's vicar in 1427. The roof was completed in the 1450s, while the gable and northern tower were completed shortly thereafter during the reign of George of Poděbrady (1453–1471). His sculpture was placed on the gable, below a huge golden chalice, the symbol of the Hussites. The southern tower was not completed until 1511, under architect Matěj Rejsek.
After the lost Battle of White Mountain (1620) began the era of harsh recatholicisation (part of the Counter-Reformation). Consequently, the sculptures of 'heretic king' George of Poděbrady and the chalice were removed in 1626 and replaced by a sculpture of the Virgin Mary, with a giant halo made from by melting down the chalice. In 1679 the church was struck by lightning, and the subsequent fire heavily damaged the old vault, which was later replaced by a lower baroque vault.
Renovation works carried out in 1876–1895 were later reversed during extensive exterior renovation works in the years 1973–1995. Interior renovation is still in progress.
The northern portal is a wonderful example of Gothic sculpture from the Parler workshop, with a relief depicting the Crucifixion. The main entrance is located on the church's western face, through a narrow passage between the houses in front of the church.
The early baroque altarpiece has paintings by Karel Škréta from around 1649. The oldest pipe organ in Prague stands inside this church. The organ was built in 1673 by Heinrich Mundt and is one of the most representative 17th-century organs in Europe.