The three-nave Romanesque Koper Cathedral with three apses was built in the second half of the 12th century. The Romanesque construction is preserved on the south side, where typical funnel-shape windows are intact and the stonework is imitated in the facade. Towards the west the church was extended to the bell tower and in 1392 it was Gothicized. The lower floor facade by the square has remained Gothic. The upper floor was redone with pilaster separations after the fire in 1460. The decorative Renaissance elements are the most distinctive on the west side, built in 1488, and in the chiselled details, such as the portals.
In the middle of the square, right next to the west façade, stands a mighty self-supporting bell tower repaired as a city tower in the 15th century. It has four main floors. The upper is open on all sides by quadra-forums. Higher up is a terrace and an ending with an Aquileian cap. In the bell tower hangs one of the oldest bells in Slovenia (1333). It was cast by Master Jakob in Venice. The upper terrace is periodically open and offers a great view of the Bay of Trieste. The clock, positioned in the middle of the third floor, faces the square.
In the first half of the 18th century the interior was unified and arranged, and the hall was remade in Baroque style under the influence of Venetian origins into one of the largest church interiors in Slovenia. The church has had additional fittings. The work was directed by the architect Giorgio Massari. Among the interior fittings are numerous quality paintings of artists from Venice. There are more works by the even more famous artists Benedetto and Vittoreo Carpaccio. On the south side in the middle of the church hangs the Sacra Conversatione by V. Carpaccio from 1516, one of the best Renaissance paintings in Slovenia. It was painted for the of altar St. Rochus.
Among the sculptural works of art, a chiselled sarcophagus of St. Nazarius from the middle of the 14th century holds a special position, behind the altar. The image of the adored bishop is chiselled on the cover; on the circumference are the miracles of that patron of the city.References:
The moated castle at Beersel is one of the few exceptionally well-preserved examples of medieval fortifications in Belgium. It remains pretty much as it must have appeared in the 15th century. Remarkably, it was never converted into a fortified mansion. A visitor is able to experience at first-hand how it must have felt to live in a heavily fortified castle in the Middle Ages.
The castle was built in around 1420 as a means of defence on the outer reaches of Brussels. The tall, dense walls and towers were intended to hold any besiegers at bay. The moat and the marshy ground along its eastern, southern and western edges made any attack a formidable proposition. For that reason, any attackers would have chosen its weaker northern defences where the castle adjoins higher lying ground. But the castle was only taken and destroyed on one occasion in 1489, by the inhabitants of Brussels who were in rebellion against Maximilian of Austria.
After being stormed and plundered by the rebels it was partially rebuilt. The pointed roofs and stepped gables are features which have survived this period. The reconstruction explains why two periods can be identified in the fabric of the edifice, particularly on the outside.
The red Brabant sandstone surrounds of the embrasures, now more or less all bricked up, are characteristic of the 15th century. The other embrasures, edged with white sandstone, date from the end of the 15th century. They were intended for setting up the artillery fire. The merlons too are in white sandstone. The year 1617 can be clearly seen in the foundation support on the first tower. This refers to restorations carried out at the time by the Arenberg family.
Nowadays, the castle is dominated by three massive towers. The means of defence follow the classic pattern: a wide, deep moat surrounding the castle, a drawbridge, merlons on the towers, embrasures in the walls and in the towers, at more or less regular intervals, and machiolations. Circular, projecting towers ensured that attacks from the side could be thwarted. If the enemy were to penetrate the outer wall, each tower could be defended from embrasures facing onto the inner courtyard.
The second and third towers are flanked by watchtowers from which shots could be fired directly below. Between the second and third tower are two openings in the walkway on the wall. It is not clear what these were used for. Were these holes used for the disposing of rubbish, or escape routes. The windows on the exterior are narrow and low. All light entering comes from the interior. The few larger windows on the exterior date from a later period. It is most probable that the third tower - the highest - was used as a watchtower.