The oldest mural paintings in the Netherlands are hidden in a beautiful church on the outskirts of Sittard-Geleen. It might be somewhat confusing that there are two churches with the same name in the same village, but you can probably skip the new church in the centre that was built in 1922. The church replaced the ancient one at the castle, which you definitely shouldn't miss if you're in the region.
The history of the old Salviuskerk can be traced back to the late 10th century, but all that remains of the original church hall is the northern wall made of boulders from the River Meuse. Over the centuries, the church was enlarged several times and the tower was erected in 1458. During a restoration in 1977, murals from around 1300 were found. The paintings have been restored and after almost two years of tremendous efforts, which included the stripping of at least 20 layers of lime paint, are now on display. The paintings depict a Mary-themed cycle with portrayals of the childhood of Christ, the coronation of Mary and the salvation. Another sacred item found in this church is a box that supposedly contains pieces of Saint Salvius' bones.References:
Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.
Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.
Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.
The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.
During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.
The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.
From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.
The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.
Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.