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 Castle of Gruyères is one of the most famous in Switzerland. It was built between 1270 and 1282, following the typical square plan of the fortifications in Savoy. It was the property of the Counts of Gruyères until the bankruptcy of the Count Michel in 1554. His creditors the cantons of Fribourg and Bern shared his earldom. From 1555 to 1798 the castle became residence to the bailiffs and then to the prefects sent by Fribourg.
In 1849 the castle was sold to the Bovy and Balland families, who used the castle as their summer residency and restored it. The castle was then bought back by the canton of Fribourg in 1938, made into a museum and opened to the public. Since 1993, a foundation ensures the conservation as well as the highlighting of the building and the art collection.
The castle is the home of three capes of the Order of the Golden Fleece. They were part of the war booty captured by the Swiss Confederates (which included troops from Gruyères) at the Battle of Morat against Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy in 1476. As Charles the Bold was celebrating the anniversary of his father's death, one of the capes is a black velvet sacerdotal vestment with Philip the Good's emblem sewn into it.
A collection of landscapes by 19th century artists Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Barthélemy Menn and others are on display in the castle.