St. John the Baptist Cathedral is the first purely Baroque building built in present-day Slovakia. It is part of a complex of academical buildings. The donor of this Cathedral, Miklós Eszterházy, entrusted its construction to the Italian masters Antonio and Pietro Spazzi in 1629. The not-yet-finished cathedral was consecrated in 1637.
The single-nave two-tower Cathedral with straight seal of sanctuary has a west aspect and is about 61 metres in length and 28 metres in width. Above its main portal there is a shield with figures of seated angels and the stoned crest of the Esterházy family.
The interior of the Cathedral amazes a visitor with its massiveness and variety of unique paintings. The main area has barrel vaults with lunettes, while in the chapels on both sides of nave can be found cloister vaults.
The biggest treasure of the whole interior is the colossal main altar which was finished in 1640. On its realisation participated besides the Austrian master B. Knilling and V. Knoth also V. Stadler from Trnava and master Ferdinand from Cífer. The altar is 20.3 metres high and 14.8 metres wide and is one of the biggest altars of its kind in Europe.
The church doesn’t hold only spiritual functions; there were many theological treatises and graduations. Very interesting also are the catacombs with graves.
In December 1978 Pope John Paul II established the church as the Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Trnava. The name of the archdiocese was changed in 1995 to the Archdiocese of Bratislava-Trnava and in 2008 changed back to the Archdiocese of Trnava. Pope John Paul II visited the cathedral on November 9, 2003.References:
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.
Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.
The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.