St. Francis Church is situated next to the Franciscan monastery. In front of it there is a small square, formerly used as a cemetery. The construction of the church and the monastery reaches back to the year 1301. Despite many restorations, traces of the period in which the church was built can still be seen in the presbytery.
The present interior dates from the 17th century and the exterior from the 19th century. The left corner of the church is decorated in the Lombard style. The baldachin in front of the central altar dates from the 16th century. It was removed in the 18th century and restored to its original dwelling in the 19th century.
The most important painting is “Mary with all the Saints” by Vittore Carpaccio from the year 1518, which adorned the aedicula until 1940, when it was transferred to Italy. St. Francis Church is proud of its authentic gallery of paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries; the most important of which are: the Last Supper, the portraits of Pope Alexander V, Pope George II, St. Magdalena, St. John the Baptist, St. Peter, St. Paul and Samaritan Women by a Well.
Next to St. Francis Church is a Franciscan monastery with a gracefully designed atrium, the Cloister, which represents one of the best Cloister atrium designs in the coastal area. Leading to the Cloister there is a half-arched portal adorned with richly carved columns, bearing an architrave with an inscription and coats of arms.
In its entirety as well as its detail, the portal is considered to be the best example of stone carving art from the end of the 17th century in Piran. Due to its beautiful atmosphere and good acoustics, the Cloister has for many decades been the setting for the Musical Evenings of Piran.
The Pinacotheque, in the basement of the monastery, contains a collection of 14 high-quality paintings, painted mainly by unknown Venetian artists who used to decorate the monastery and the church.References:
Het Steen is a medieval fortress in the old city centre of Antwerp. Built after the Viking incursions in the early Middle Ages as the first stone fortress of Antwerp, Het Steen is Antwerp's oldest building and used to be its oldest urban centre.
Previously known as Antwerpen Burcht (fortress), Het Steen gained its current name in around 1520, after significant rebuilding under Charles V. The fortress made it possible to control the access to the Scheldt, the river on whose bank it stands. It was used as a prison between 1303 and 1827. The largest part of the fortress, including dozens of historic houses and the oldest church of the city, was demolished in the 19th century when the quays were straightened to stop the silting up of the Scheldt. The remaining building, heavily changed, contains a shipping museum, with some old canal barges displayed on the quay outside.
In 1890 Het Steen became the museum of archeology and in 1952 an annex was added to house the museum of Antwerp maritime history, which in 2011 moved to the nearby Museum Aan de Stroom. Here you’ll also find a war memorial to the Canadian soldiers in WWII.
There are some beautiful plaques on the back side of the Steen Castle at Antwerp. Canadian visitors will especially want to see the plaques thanking the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry for their part in the liberation of Antwerp, in 1944.
At the entrance to Het Steen is a bas-relief of Semini, above the archway, around 2nd century. Semini is the Scandinavian God of youth and fertility (with symbolic phallus). A historical plaque near Het Steen explains that women of the town appealed to Semini when they desired children; the god was reviled by later religious clergy. Inhabitants of Antwerp previously referred to themselves as 'children of Semini'.
At the entrance bridge to the castle is a statue of a giant and two humans. It depicts the giant Lange Wapper who used to terrorise the inhabitants of the city in medieval times.