The Kaiservilla in Bad Ischl was the summer residence of Emperor Franz Joseph I and Empress Elisabeth of Austria, known as Sisi. Originally the palace was a Biedermeier villa belonging to a Viennese notary named Josef August Eltz. In 1850 it was purchased by Dr Eduard Mastalier. After Franz Joseph's engagement to Princess Elisabeth of Bavaria in 1853, Franz Joseph's mother, Princess Sophie of Bavaria, purchased the villa as a wedding present for the couple.
In subsequent years, the villa was altered and expanded in a Neoclassical style by Antonio Legrenzi. The extant central portion was expanded towards the park and the originally posterior portion of the house was converted to form the entrance with Classical columns and tympana. Two additional wings were constructed.
The villa is surrounded by a large park in the English Style. The architectural ensemble in its contemporary form was completed in 1860. Construction was significantly slowed by the fact that it could not proceed during the summer months due to the presence of the royal family.
Today, the mansion is home to the Archduke Markus Habsburg, but also offers grounds tours to the public.References:
The Kalozha church of Saints Boris and Gleb is the oldest extant structure in Hrodna. It is the only surviving monument of ancient Black Ruthenian architecture, distinguished from other Orthodox churches by prolific use of polychrome faceted stones of blue, green or red tint which could be arranged to form crosses or other figures on the wall.
The church is a cross-domed building supported by six circular pillars. The outside is articulated with projecting pilasters, which have rounded corners, as does the building itself. The ante-nave contains the choir loft, accessed by a narrow gradatory in the western wall. Two other stairs were discovered in the walls of the side apses; their purpose is not clear. The floor is lined with ceramic tiles forming decorative patterns. The interior was lined with innumerable built-in pitchers, which usually serve in Eastern Orthodox churches as resonators but in this case were scored to produce decorative effects. For this reason, the central nave has never been painted.
The church was built before 1183 and survived intact, depicted in the 1840s by Michał Kulesza, until 1853, when the south wall collapsed, due to its perilous location on the high bank of the Neman. During restoration works, some fragments of 12th-century frescoes were discovered in the apses. Remains of four other churches in the same style, decorated with pitchers and coloured stones instead of frescoes, were discovered in Hrodna and Vaŭkavysk. They all date back to the turn of the 13th century, as do remains of the first stone palace in the Old Hrodna Castle.
In 2004, the church was included in the Tentative List of UNESCO"s World Heritage Sites.