Saint Barbara's Church is a Roman Catholic church in Kutná Hora. It is one of the most famous Gothic churches in central Europe and it is a UNESCO world heritage site. St Barbara is the patron saint of miners (among others), which was highly appropriate for a town whose wealth was based entirely upon its silver mines.
Construction of the church began in 1388, but because work on the church was interrupted several times, it was not completed until 1905. The first architect was probably Johann Parler, son of Peter Parler. Work on the building was interrupted for more than 60 years during the Hussite Wars and when work resumed in 1481, Matěj Rejsek, Benedikt Rejt and Mikuláš Parler, assumed responsibility.
The original design was for a much larger church, perhaps twice the size of the present building. Construction, however, depended on the prosperity of the town's silver mines, which became much less productive. So, in 1588, the three-peaked roof had been completed.and a provisional wall was constructed. A little later it was occupied by Jesuits who gradually changed the structure into Baroque style, though parts still remain in Gothic style.
The final process of repair and completion took place at the end of the 19th century, under architects J. Mocker and L. Labler.
Originally there were eight radial chapels with trapezoidal interiors. Later on, the choir was constructed, supported by double-arched flying buttresses.
Internal points of note are the glass windows, altars, pulpits and choir stalls. Medieval frescoes depicting the secular life of the medieval mining town and religious themes have been partially preserved.References:
Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a staircase leads to the walkways above the walls, providing a marvellous view of the harbour that once sheltered the Scaliger fleet. The doors were fitted with a variety of locking systems, including a drawbridge for horses, carriages and pedestrians, a metal grate and, more recently, double hinged doors. Venice conquered Sirmione in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbour.
Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defence and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the 16th century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda.