Dormition Cathedral or Assumption Cathedral used to be a mother church of medieval Russia in the 13th and 14th centuries. It is part of the World Heritage Site entitled White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal.
The cathedral was commissioned by Andrew the Pious in his capital Vladimir and dedicated to the Dormition of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary), whom he promoted as the patron saint of his lands. Originally erected in 1158-1160, the 6-pillared 5-domed cathedral was expanded in 1185-1189 to reflect the augmented prestige of Vladimir. Embracing the area of 1178 sq. meters, it remained the largest of Russian churches for the following 300 or 400 years.
Andrew the Pious, Vsevolod the Big Nest, and other rulers of Vladimir-Suzdal were interred in the crypt of this church. Unlike many other churches, the cathedral survived the great devastation and fire of Vladimir in 1239, when the Mongol hordes of Batu Khan took hold of the capital.
The exterior walls of the church are covered with elaborate carvings. The interior was painted in the 12th century and then repainted by the great Andrei Rublev and Daniil Chernyi in 1408. The Dormition Cathedral served as a model for Aristotele Fioravanti when he designed the eponymous cathedral in the Moscow Kremlin in 1475-1479. A lofty belltower, combining genuinely Russian, Gothic, and Neoclassical influences, was erected nearby in 1810.References:
Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.
The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.
In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.
Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.
About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.
Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.
A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.