The Basilica of Saint-Martin d'Ainay is a Romanesque church in the historic centre of Lyon. Legendary origins of a remarkably large church, which may once have stood on this site, are noted by Gregory of Tours.
A Benedictine priory was founded on the Lyon peninsula in 859. When later it was raised to the rank of an abbey, major building works began: the abbey church was built at the end of the 11th century under Abbot Gaucerand, consecrated in 1107 and dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours. This church is today one of the Romanesque churches still extant in Lyon. The tiny building with its massive walls, watchtower, narrow window openings and spaces for heavy doors, was apparently built with defence in mind, and reflects the many dangers of warfare and violent incursions of the period of its construction.
During the Renaissance the monastery owned a port, the abbot lived in a palace and the monks had the use of substantial buildings, cloisters, a garden and a vineyard. Little by little, the life of the community ceased to be a monastic one, particularly once the abbots became commendatory and were nominated by the king. The abbey's temporal power continued, but its spiritual life evaporated.
In 1562, during the French Wars of Religion, the troops of the Baron des Adrets destroyed part of the buildings, including the cloister; the church was badly damaged. By the end of the 17th century the monastic community had ceased to exist. The church and remaining buildings were handed over to a secular chapter in 1685. The church became a parish church.
During the French Revolution the premises were confiscated and nationalised, and the abbots' palace destroyed. The church became a grain store, which saved it from being likewise destroyed. The church was returned to parish use in 1802. During the course of the 19th century was restored in a Romanesque Revival style by the architects Pollet and Benoôt, destroying the last remains of the cloister and enlarging it by the addition of side chapels.
The basilica at Ainay contains several architectural styles: the chapel of Saint Blandina is pre-Romanesque; the principal structure is Romanesque; the chapel of Saint Michael is Gothic; and the overall restoration and enlargement of the 19th century is Romanesque Revival.References:
German crusaders known as the Livonian Brothers of the Sword began construction of the Cēsis castle (Wenden) near the hill fort in 1209. When the castle was enlarged and fortified, it served as the residence for the Order's Master from 1237 till 1561, with periodic interruptions. Its ruins are some of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic states. Once the most important castle of the Livonian Order, it was the official residence for the masters of the order.
In 1577, during the Livonian War, the garrison destroyed the castle to prevent it from falling into the control of Ivan the Terrible, who was decisively defeated in the Battle of Wenden (1578).
In 1598 it was incorporated into the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Wenden Voivodship was created here. In 1620 Wenden was conquered by Sweden. It was rebuilt afterwards, but was destroyed again in 1703 during the Great Northern War by the Russian army and left in a ruined state. Already from the end of the 16th century, the premises of the Order's castle were adjusted to the requirements of the Cēsis Castle estate. When in 1777 the Cēsis Castle estate was obtained by Count Carl Sievers, he had his new residence house built on the site of the eastern block of the castle, joining its end wall with the fortification tower.
Since 1949, the Cēsis History Museum has been located in this New Castle of the Cēsis Castle estate. The front yard of the New Castle is enclosed by a granary and a stable-coach house, which now houses the Exhibition Hall of the Museum. Beside the granary there is the oldest brewery in Latvia, Cēsu alus darītava, which was built in 1878 during the later Count Sievers' time, but its origins date back to the period of the Livonian Order. Further on, the Cēsis Castle park is situated, which was laid out in 1812. The park has the romantic characteristic of that time, with its winding footpaths, exotic plants, and the waters of the pond reflecting the castle's ruins. Nowadays also one of the towers is open for tourists.