Churburg Castle (Castel Coira in Italian) is one of the best preserved castles of South Tyrol. In 1259 this building was mentioned for the first time under the name “Curberch” in a document of the archbishop Heinrich von Monfort, which had the castle built around 1250. However, already in 1297 the castle passed to the Lords of Mazia, which were in constant feud with the prince-bishopric of Chur. At the beginning of the 16th century, after the death of the last representative of the Lords of Mazia, the castle again changed hands and passed on to the Counts of Trapp.
The most ancient nucleus of the Romanesque period is represented by the donjon, the great hall and the circular wall. Up until the 16th century the castle was able to preserve its Mediaeval appearance. Only when it passed into the hands of the Counts of Trapp, substantial renovations and extensions were made. In the course of this period, residential buildings, Zwinger palaces, chapels, bays and garden terraces in gothic style were annexed. Only in the second half of the 16th century the castle was converted into a Renaissance castle.
Today the castle, which has never been destroyed, offers a rich variety of well-furbished rooms. Particularly interesting for those who love arts are the Madonna sculpture, the funeral shields in the castle chapel and the decorated arcades with Renaissance vault made of the typical marble of Lasa in Val Venosta. Moreover Castel Coira offers the largest private armory worldwide, including an almost complete collection of armaments for the entire castle crew with more than 50 suits of armour, thrustings and swords.References:
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.
Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.
The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.