The Krásna Hôrka Castle stands on top of the conspicuous unwooded mountain, which dominates the Rožňavská kotlina basin. The main attraction though is the embalmed body of Sophia Andrássy-Serédy. Despite the castle was extensively damaged by fire in 2012 it is said to be one of the country's best-preserved castles.
The original Gothic castle was built around 1320. The courtyard of the upper part of a rather small castle with triangle-shaped ground plan has been preserved. Fortifications were added to the castle in time of the Turkish threat. Fortifications including three canon bastions and a cannon terrace in the Renaissance style were built. In addition, it was when the interior of the castle got a more homely Gothic-Renaissance shape and when it acquired its present form.
Three generations of the Andrássy family tried to obtain the castle and finally succeeded in 1642. In 1735, the area in front of the castle gates was adapted and the small Baroque chapel of St John Nepomuk was built there.
In the second half of the 18th century, one of the bastions was rebuilt into the Baroque-Classicist Chapel of Nativity of the Virgin Mary. On the main altar of the chapel, there is a painting of black Madonna also referred to as the Virgin Mary of Krásna Hôrka, that later on became the reason of processions.
The castle houses the exhibition of the Museum of Betliar, which illustrates the history and development of the castle, as well as the way of life of nobles in the past. As the castle with its original furniture is one of the best preserved in Slovakia, it is worth visiting. The castle kitchen and the collection of arms are of special interest. The most precious exhibits are medieval and modern weapons, such as a bronze cannon from 1547 with a small barrel of gun powder and stock of cannon balls or castle rifles – harquebuses from the 18th and 19th century.
In the late 20th century, a medieval catapult was installed near the castle, which is used upon the “Castle Games” that are organized every year.
On the outskirts of the village of Krásnohorské Podhradie stands a mausoleum in the Art Nouveau style with two sarcophagi of the Andrássy family. A gallery with a collection of portraits is situated in another building at the foot of the castle hill.References:
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.
Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.
The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.
In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.
In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.