On Ristimäki hill in Ravattula, remains of an early medieval church were found in 2013. The remains have been dated to the late 12th century–early 13th century, in other words to the end of the Finnish Crusade period and the Early Middle Ages. The church is so far the oldest in Finland and also the only one dating from the period before the establishment of Finnish parish system. Ristimäki is exceptionally well preserved: the site comprises a church, a churchyard that served as burial ground, and a fence surrounding the churchyard.
Ristimäki (lit. Cross Hill) church was a wooden building that was constructed on a stone footing. The church consisted of two rooms: in the western end, there was a square nave and in the eastern end, a slightly smaller narrow choir in which the altar was located. The walls were presumably built by using a horizontal timbering technique and the floor was covered with planks. Today, only the stone footing and the foundation of the altar remain of the Ristimäki church. The corners of the church building and the location of the altar have been marked on the ground.
The church remains are surrounded by a churchyard with dozens of graves. Thus far only a few graves have been archaeologically examined. Most graves are located right in the vicinity of the church as it was regarded as the most valuable place for burying. According to radiocarbon datings, the burial ground may have already been in use a century before the construction of the church begun. Remains of a stone setting of a fence that surrounded the churchyard have so far been found on the south-western side of the hill.
On the basis of natural scientific datings and finds, it seems that the use of the church and the churchyard ceased during the second quarter of the 13th century. Perhaps the church was destroyed by fire, or it was abandoned and left to decay. Around that time, the parochial organisation in Finland began and the religious life appears to have concentrated in the newly established parish centre.References:
Royal Palace of Naples was one of the four residences near Naples used by the Bourbon Kings during their rule of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies (1734-1860): the others were the palaces of Caserta, Capodimonte overlooking Naples, and the third Portici, on the slopes of Vesuvius.
Construction on the present building was begun in the 17th century by the architect Domenico Fontana. Intended to house the King Philip III of Spain on a visit never fulfilled to this part of his kingdom, instead it initially housed the Viceroy Fernando Ruiz de Castro, count of Lemos. By 1616, the facade had been completed, and by 1620, the interior was frescoed by Battistello Caracciolo, Giovanni Balducci, and Belisario Corenzio. The decoration of the Royal Chapel of Assumption was not completed until 1644 by Antonio Picchiatti.
In 1734, with the arrival of Charles III of Spain to Naples, the palace became the royal residence of the Bourbons. On the occasion of his marriage to Maria Amalia of Saxony in 1738, Francesco De Mura and Domenico Antonio Vaccaro helped remodel the interior. Further modernization took place under Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies. In 1768, on the occasion of his marriage to Maria Carolina of Austria, under the direction of Ferdinando Fuga, the great hall was rebuilt and the court theater added. During the second half of the 18th century, a 'new wing' was added, which in 1927 became the Vittorio Emanuele III National Library. By the 18th century, the royal residence was moved to Reggia of Caserta, as that inland town was more defensible from naval assault, as well as more distant from the often-rebellious populace of Naples.
During the Napoleonic occupation the palace was enriched by Joachim Murat and his wife, Caroline Bonaparte, with Neoclassic decorations and furnishings. However, a fire in 1837 damaged many rooms, and required restoration from 1838 to 1858 under the direction of Gaetano Genovese. Further additions of a Party Wing and a Belvedere were made in this period. At the corner of the palace with San Carlo Theatre, a new facade was created that obscured the viceroyal palace of Pedro de Toledo.
In 1922, it was decided to transfer here the contents of the National Library. The transfer of library collections was made by 1925.
The library suffered from bombing during World War II and the subsequent military occupation of the building caused serious damage. Today, the palace and adjacent grounds house the famous Teatro San Carlo, the smaller Teatrino di Corte (recently restored), the Biblioteca Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III, a museum, and offices, including those of the regional tourist board.