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:
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.