Simontornya Castle tower was built in the 13th century by Simon (Son of Salamon) among the swamps of the Sió river. The name Simontornya means Simon's Tower. Nearly all owners of the castle made some alterations throughout the centuries. The Lackfi's built a new gothic wing in the 14th century, altered the old Tower, and added an arcaded loggia to the back-front. After the extinction of the House of Garai in 1482, the castle again belonged to Queen Beatrix, wife of Matthias Corvinus.
Mózes Buzlay, marshall of King Ulászló II improved the castle into a renaissance palace with the help of Italian masters and craftsmen from Buda. After Buzlays' death the castle was taken over by the Turks in 1545. This event marked the beginning of a new era with an emphasis on military requirements. During the nearly 150 years of occupation minor alterations and refinements were constantly being made.
Simontornya, the center of a sandjak was recaptured by Louis William, Margrave of Baden-Baden in 1686. In just two years (1702-1704) major alterations turned the castle into a fortress. During the revolution against the Habsburgs, led by Prince Francis II Rákóczi, Simontornya became the stronghold of the Kuruc rebels in southwest Hungary. The fortress was captured by the Austrian army in 1709 housing troops until 1717. The castle fortress was later donated to the House of Limburg-Stirum, but, after building a new a castle, they turned the old one into a barn. It has been used as a barn by all new owners until 1960, when archeological excavations started.References:
The Kalozha church of Saints Boris and Gleb is the oldest extant structure in Hrodna. It is the only surviving monument of ancient Black Ruthenian architecture, distinguished from other Orthodox churches by prolific use of polychrome faceted stones of blue, green or red tint which could be arranged to form crosses or other figures on the wall.
The church is a cross-domed building supported by six circular pillars. The outside is articulated with projecting pilasters, which have rounded corners, as does the building itself. The ante-nave contains the choir loft, accessed by a narrow gradatory in the western wall. Two other stairs were discovered in the walls of the side apses; their purpose is not clear. The floor is lined with ceramic tiles forming decorative patterns. The interior was lined with innumerable built-in pitchers, which usually serve in Eastern Orthodox churches as resonators but in this case were scored to produce decorative effects. For this reason, the central nave has never been painted.
The church was built before 1183 and survived intact, depicted in the 1840s by Michał Kulesza, until 1853, when the south wall collapsed, due to its perilous location on the high bank of the Neman. During restoration works, some fragments of 12th-century frescoes were discovered in the apses. Remains of four other churches in the same style, decorated with pitchers and coloured stones instead of frescoes, were discovered in Hrodna and Vaŭkavysk. They all date back to the turn of the 13th century, as do remains of the first stone palace in the Old Hrodna Castle.
In 2004, the church was included in the Tentative List of UNESCO"s World Heritage Sites.