The Banská Bystrica town castle was once formed by several ancient buildings. Its task was to protect the income proceedings of copper and silver mining for the royal treasury.
The town castle was built gradually. The parish church was built as the first structure in the 13th century and fortifications were added to it in the 15th century. Earth ramparts and palisades were later replaced by tall stone walls fortified by bastions and a water dike. In the 16th century, the Turkish threat called for further fortifications. Only a quarter of the original town walls and three bastions - Farská (Parish), Banícka (Mining), and Pisárska (Scriveners) - of the original four have survived.
The castle's surrounding area includes not only a parish church and fortifications, but also the Church of the Holy Cross - Slovak Church, which was built in 1452, as well as a barbican with a tower. It used to be the entry gate to the castle. The barbican acquired its present Baroque facade after fire in 1761. Between 2005-2006 the barbican was restored again.
The castle also features Matej's House (Matejov dom), which was built in the 15th century in the late Gothic style, and the Old Town Hall - Praetorium which, for its part, was originally designed in the Gothic style, but later was reshaped into a Renaissance building. The latter is currently home to the Central Slovakia Gallerywhich holds graphic biennials plus a variety of temporary exhibitions on a regular basis.References:
Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a staircase leads to the walkways above the walls, providing a marvellous view of the harbour that once sheltered the Scaliger fleet. The doors were fitted with a variety of locking systems, including a drawbridge for horses, carriages and pedestrians, a metal grate and, more recently, double hinged doors. Venice conquered Sirmione in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbour.
Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defence and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the 16th century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda.