The church of St. Euphemianos is a very small, single-dome, stone building and its interior is decorated with frescoes dating back to the 13th and 14th centuries. The inscription on the bottom of the arch indicates that the temple was dedicated by Lavrentios, monk and abbot of St. Andronikos Monastery. Technically, the Church of St. Euphemianos is a chapel, due to its diminutive size and the fact that it was not the main church of Lysi, there was no priest assigned to it, and services were only held there on special occasions.
The dome of the church is decorated with a fresco showing Christ Pantocrator, the 'All sovereign'. Surrounding the figure of Christ is a double row of angels moving towards the Hetoimasia or empty throne prepared by God the Father for the Second Coming of Christ. The throne is guarded by the Archangel Michael and Archangel Gabriel and two seraphim. The Virgin Mary leads one line of angels to the throne, while John the Baptist leads the other. In the apse, the Virgin is depicted as flanked by the two archangels with a medallion on her breast of the infant Christ, symbolizing the Incarnation of Christ.
The frescoes within the church were maintained in good condition and in 1972 maintenance was undertaken by the Department of Antiquities of Cyprus. Following the 1974 Turkish invasion the frescos were removed, sometime between 1974 and the spring of 1983. The dome fresco with Christ Pantokrator and an apse depicting the Virgin Mary were cut into 38 pieces, and shipped to Germany by Aydın Dikmen, the Turkish art dealer and notorious smuggler, who claimed they originated from an abandoned church in southern Turkey, and prepared to sell them into the European art market. The Department of Antiquities of Cyprus was able to show that the murals were forcibly removed from the church of St. Euphemianos and following lengthy negotiations, it was agreed that ownership of the murals belongs to the Orthodox Church of Cyprus. The 38 fresco fragments were bought by the Houston-based Menil Foundation on behalf of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus, the rightful owner of the frescoes. The Menil Foundation then funded a careful restoration of the paintings.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.