Villa Monastero, located on the shore of Lake Como, includes a botanical garden, a museum, and a convention center. Villa Monastero is an eclectic villa built in the Nordic style. The site was originally a Cistercian convent, founded at the end of the 12th century in Varenna, which now lies beneath the modern building. The convent grew in importance and wealth, purchasing many properties, especially around Lierna, but eventually declined to only six mothers, and was closed by papal bull in 1567.
The whole estate was purchased by Paolo Mornico in 1569, using his fortune amassed through iron mining in Valsassinia. In the 17th century the Mornico family incrementally rebuilt and decorated it in the eclectic style.
Walter Kees of Leipzig bought the villa in the 1890s, and between 1897 and 1909 carried out modifications which give its current style. Some of the architects involved include Emilio Alemagna, Achille Majnoni, and Enrico Citterio, the construction itself was overseen by G. Bertarini of Varenna. The final phase of construction expanded the garden, with the cooperation of Enrico Achler of Menaggio.
In 1936 the Milanese De Marchi family, originally from Switzerland, donated the villa to the public and it became a museum. In 1940 the gardens were opened to the public, and in 1953 the conference center was created.
A museum house was set up within Villa Monastero, and opened to the public in 2003. The monumental part of the house was already completed by 1996, with 14 rooms featuring original decorations and furniture from its various owners. The museum house also contains a collection of optical, electronic, and mechanical instruments originally belonging to Giovanni Polvani.References:
Narikala is an ancient fortress overlooking Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, and the Kura River. The fortress consists of two walled sections on a steep hill between the sulphur baths and the botanical gardens of Tbilisi. On the lower court there is the recently restored St Nicholas church. Newly built in 1996–1997, it replaces the original 13th-century church that was destroyed in a fire. The new church is of 'prescribed cross' type, having doors on three sides. The internal part of the church is decorated with the frescos showing scenes both from the Bible and history of Georgia.
The fortress was established in the 4th century and it was a Persian citadel. It was considerably expanded by the Umayyads in the 7th century and later, by king David the Builder (1089–1125). Most of extant fortifications date from the 16th and 17th centuries. In 1827, parts of the fortress were damaged by an earthquake and demolished.