The Basilica di San Marino is dedicated to Saint Marinus, the founder and patron of the San Marino Republic. The present church was built in 1836 in place of an earlier one that dated to 7th century. It is built in the Neoclassical style, with a porch of eight Corinthian columns. Relics of St. Marino are enshrined in the basilica.
An earlier church was erected on the spot in the 4th century which was dedicated to the same patron. The first document attesting the existence of the church dates to 530 in the La Vita di San Severino by Eugippius. A later document, the Placito Feretrano, dates from 885. The first document that directly relates to the 'Pieve di San Marino' is dated 31 July 1113, with donations from the faithful public.
At the beginning of the 1800s, the church was in critical condition. In 1807, it was razed and a project for the construction of the new church was handed to the Bolognese Achille Serra. In 1825, the council decided to build a new church in the place where the old church had stood. Construction began in 1826 and was completed in 1838. On 5 February 1838, the church was solemnly inaugurated in the presence of the Bishop of Montefeltro, Crispino Agostinucci and the Captain's-Regent.
Over the course of centuries, the basilica has witnessed civil turmoil. Because of this, in 1992, the Vatican made several decrees. These included that the basilica, as the mother-church of all churches within the Republic, is made exempt from the jurisdiction of the parish of the city of San Marino. The basilica is entrusted to the care of a priest who holds the title of Rector, and the Rector is appointed and removed in accordance with canon law.
The interior of the basilica consists of three naves, supported by sixteen Corinthian columns which form a large ambulatory around the semicircular apse. The altar is adorned by a statue of St. Marino by Adamo Tadolini, a student of Antonio Canova. Under the altar are relics of St. Marino which were found on 3 March 1586; some relics were donated to the island of Rab (Croatia), the birthplace of the saint, on 28 January 1595. A reliquary bust in silver and gold dated to 2 September 1602 lies to the right of altar. In the right aisle is a small altar dedicated to Mary Magdelene and a painting by Elisabetta Sirani.
The Chiesa di San Pietro is located at the Basilica of San Marino, to the side of the front steps. It was originally built in 600. It houses a valuable altar with inlaid marble, donated by the musician Antonio Tedeschi in 1689, which is surmounted by a statue dedicated to St. Peter by Enrico Saroldi. In the crypt of this church there are two niches cut into rock that are said to be the beds of San Marino and San Leo. Inside is a monument to Pope John XXIII, erected by the Government of the Republic.References:
The Château d'Olhain is probably the most famous castle of the Artois region. It is located in the middle of a lake which reflects its picturesque towers and curtain walls. It was also a major stronghold for the Artois in medieval times and testimony to the power of the Olhain family, first mentioned from the 12th century.
The existence of the castle was known early in the 13th century, but the present construction is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain at the end of the 15th century.
The marriage of Alix Nielles to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France (master of hounds) to the King, meant the castle passed to this family, who kept it for more than 450 years. Once confiscated by Charles Quint, it suffered during the wars that ravaged the Artois. Besieged in 1641 by the French, it was partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and finally blown-up and taken by the Dutch in 1710. Restored in 1830, it was abandoned after 1870, and sold by the last Prince of Berghes in 1900. There is also evidence that one of the castles occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the person Alexandre Dumas based his Three Musketeers charictor d'Artagnan on.
During the World War I and World War II, the castle was requisitioned first by French troops, then Canadian and British soldiers. The current owner has restored the castle to its former glory.