The Reformed Great Church is the symbol of the Protestant Church in Hungary, and it is because of this church that Debrecen is sometimes referred to as 'the Calvinist Rome'. With a ground space of 1500 m² it is the largest Protestant church in Hungary. It also has the largest bell of all Hungarian Protestant churches. The Great Church was built between 1805 and 1824 in neoclassical style.
A church already stood here in the Middle Ages, but it burnt down. St. Andrew Church, a Gothic hall church was built in its place between 1297 and 1311. Its area was about 16x46 meters. This church burnt down in 1564. In 1626 the already Protestant citizens of Debrecen started to build the St. Andrew Church again. With the support of George I Rákóczi construction was finished in 1628. In 1640-1642 a tower was constructed and a large bell – about 300 kg, made of Austrian cannonballs – was placed in it. In 1707, during the freedom fight led by Francis II Rákóczi the church suffered heavy damages from the imperial troops. The church burnt down on June 11, 1802, during the great fire which destroyed most of Debrecen.
The current church was designed by Mihály Péchy, but the plans were altered several times during the construction, causing much frustration to the builders. The original plan featured a church with a cross-shaped ground plan and a large dome, but the plan was discarded, mainly due to financial reasons.
The western tower was finished by 1818, the eastern tower on August 6, 1821. The towers are 61 meters high. Originally a dome was planned to crown the building, this was not built, but when the construction was finished, the facade seemed unattractive with the large empty space between the towers, so in 1823/24 the facade was slightly modified, using the plans of Károly Rábl. The tower roofs feature Baroque elements. A nice panorama can be seen from the left (western) tower. The old Rákóczi bell, restored after the fire, is in this tower too.
The Great Church also has historical significance: during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 Lajos Kossuth made the Hungarian Declaration of Independence here on April 14, 1848, and was elected governor of the country here. The armchair in which he sat can be viewed in the church.References:
The famous Italian Medici family have given two queens to France: Catherine, the spouse of Henry II, and Marie, widow of Henry IV, who built the current Luxembourg palace. Maria di Medici had never been happy at the Louvre, still semi-medieval, where the fickle king, did not hesitate to receive his mistresses. The death of Henry IV, assassinated in 1610, left the way open for Marie's project. When she became regent, she was able to give special attention to the construction of an imposing modern residence that would be reminiscent of the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens in Florence, where she grew up. The development of the 25-hectare park, which was to serve as a jewel-case for the palace, began immediately.
The architect, Salomon de Brosse, began the work in 1615. Only 16 years later was the palace was completed. Palace of Luxembourg affords a transition between the Renaissance and the Classical period.
In 1750, the Director of the King's Buildings installed in the wing the first public art-gallery in France, in which French and foreign canvases of the royal collections are shown. The Count of Provence and future Louis XVIII, who was living in Petit Luxembourg, had this gallery closed in 1780: leaving to emigrate, he fled from the palace in June 1791.
During the French Revolution the palace was first abandoned and then moved as a national prison. After that it was the seat of the French Directory, and in 1799, the home of the Sénat conservateur and the first residence of Napoleon Bonaparte, as First Consul of the French Republic. The old apartments of Maria di Medici were altered. The floor, which the 80 senators only occupied in 1804, was built in the middle of the present Conference Hall.
Beginning in 1835 the architect Alphonse de Gisors added a new garden wing parallel to the old corps de logis, replicating the look of the original 17th-century facade so precisely that it is difficult to distinguish at first glance the old from the new. The new senate chamber was located in what would have been the courtyard area in-between.
The new wing included a library (bibliothèque) with a cycle of paintings (1845–1847) by Eugène Delacroix. In the 1850s, at the request of Emperor Napoleon III, Gisors created the highly decorated Salle des Conférences, which influenced the nature of subsequent official interiors of the Second Empire, including those of the Palais Garnier.
During the German occupation of Paris (1940–1944), Hermann Göring took over the palace as the headquarters of the Luftwaffe in France, taking for himself a sumptuous suite of rooms to accommodate his visits to the French capital. Since 1958 the Luxembourg palace has been the seat of the French Senate of the Fifth Republic.