The Château de Blandy-les-Tours was mentioned first time in 1216. It belonged to Adam II de Chailly, Viscount of Melun and consisted of a simple manor. The chapel was originally only stone building. In the 14th century, the castle was strongly modified with new fortifications: a moat was dug and a new gate-tower with a drawbridge was included in the enclosing wall. The kings Charles V (1364 - 1380) and Charles VI (1380 - 1422) financed the transformation into a castle for the successive owners of the castle, the counts de Tancarville Jean II and his grandson Guillaume IV. A high keep, defended by two drawbridges, was built. The curtain wall was modified by the addition of new towers. All these modifications took place during the Hundred Years' War.
However, the castle of Blandy-les-Tours was rebuilt in the 16th century by François II of Orleans. The castle consequently became a residence. The princess of Cleves married there in 1572 in the presence of the future Henry IV. But, the castle often changed owner and worsened gradually with various dwellings inside the enclosure.
After the 17th century restorations, the marshal de Villars, owner of the castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte, bought the land and the castle of Blandy. He decided to dismantle it and transformed it into a farm. The roofs were taken from the towers, the parapets were destroyed and the large gatehouse was dismantled.
In 1764, the castle was resold to the duke of Choiseul-Praslin, minister of Louis XV. In 1888, Pierre-Charles Tuot, the mayor of Blandy-les-Tours, bought it and gave it to the municipality, no building remains in the ruined enclosure. It became a Monument historique in 1889. In the 1970s, volunteer associations began the first works to restore the castle.
The keep of the castle is built as part of a hexagonal enclosure, around the castle chapel. It stands 35 m high inside a polygonal enclosure of 14th century round towers. In the courtyard are the remains of the Merovingian crypt. The castle of Blandy is a typical example of a 13th-century feudal fortress, later transformed into a great lordly residence in the style of the late 14th century. The enclosure holds 6 towers.References:
The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.
The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.
The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.
The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.
Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.
Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.