The St. Francis Xavier Cathedral was first time mentioned as a gothic chapel at this location in the so-called Königsberger's testament from 1503. It was the only place of Roman Catholic worship during the 16th century, when Banská Bystrica was in the hands of the Protestants.
In 1647 a few Jesuits settled here and started the Catholic reform of the town and its neighbourhood. During the years 1695–1701 they built their own college on the Königberger's site. They started the building of the church in 1702 as a copy of the Church of the Gesu in Rome. The construction came to a halt when in 1703 when the town was occupied by the anti-Habsburg troops of Francis II Rákóczi. The building resumed in 1709 and on 24 September 1715 the church of St. Francis Xavier was consecrated. At that time, the church was a baroque building with a single nave and six chapels. The façade lacked a tower. In 1773 the Jesuits had to leave the church when in July 1773 the Order was suppressed by Pope Clement XIV.
The cathedral has been the seat of the Diocese of Banská Bystrica since 1776. The two onion-shaped towers were added in 1844 during an extensive rebuilding. The nave of the church and the side galleries were lengthened and a consistory was added to the church.
Another modification was performed in 1880. The towers were rearranged and a romantic balustrade was added. In the 1970s the interior was refurbished and, together with the façade, was painted. The exterior was renovated in 1999. In 2003 a new pipe organ was installed.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.
The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.
The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.
Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.
At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.
In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.