Margaret of Austria was regent of the Habsburg Netherlands between 1507 and 1530. Her residential palace was the Hof van Savoye (Court of Savoy) in Mechelen, the first renaissance building in the Low Countries. Note the magnificent renaissance frontage and the charming garden. From 1616 to 1796 the palace was home to the Great Council, the highest court of law in the Southern Netherlands. The façade still features Margaret's coat of arms, alongside the coat of arms of Charles V and a figure of Lady Justice (Justitia).
Today the building is the court of law. Margaret of Austria Margaret's life was turbulent from the outset. She was given in marriage no fewer than three times. The French crown prince sent her back at the age of eleven because he found a better match. Then the Spanish heir to the throne Don Juan died a few months after they were married. And Philibert of Savoy, the love of her life, died after three years of wedded bliss. The twenty-fouryear-old Margaret dressed as a widow ever after and refused to remarry. Margaret was appointed regent of the Netherlands and settled in Mechelen in 1507. She took responsibility for raising (emperor) Charles and his sisters. According to her contemporaries, she ran the country with tack and foresight. One of her greatest successes was the 'Ladies' Peace of Cambrai', which she engineered in 1529 through tough negotiation with Louise of Savoy, mother of the French king and sister of the late Philibert. In the meantime the arts and sciences flourished at Margaret's court. Notable artists and philosophers stayed at the palace. Polyphonic music was the regent's great passion. Her original gradual is preserved in Mechelen city archive and features on the list of 'Flemish highlights'. You can visit the garden from Monday to Friday from 7.30pm until 18pm. During the weekends and on holidays from 9am until 20pm.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.