The Basilica of the Holy Apostles (Basilika St. Aposteln) is one of the twelve Romanesque churches built in Cologne in that period. Its glory is the domed clover leaf chancel, which was built around 1200. The story of how today’s building originated begins in the 11th century.
At that time the church was on the road in the direction of Aachen, directly ahead of the roman city walls at the western main gate.
In the 13th century the church was significantly enlarged. In addition to the clover leaf chancel there was also the octagonal dome above the crossing, which was added at this time, which gives St. Aposteln its monumental, almost Byzantine appearance. The old structures were retained and, in spite of the building modifications, were copied and integrated into the new construction project.
The sequential and complementary building phases can be well identified in the St. Aposteln church. An extraordinary and controversial combination of historical and modern art is shown with a glance into the choral arches: the modern paintings by Herrmann Gottfried from the years 1988 until 1994 always provoke a host of diverse opinions.References:
Sirmione castle was built near the end of the 12th century as part of a defensive network surrounding Verona. The castle was maintained and extended first as part of the Veronese protection against their rivals in Milan and later under the control of the Venetian inland empire. The massive fortress is totally surrounded by water and has an inner porch which houses a Roman and Medieval lapidary. From the drawbridge, a staircase leads to the walkways above the walls, providing a marvellous view of the harbour that once sheltered the Scaliger fleet. The doors were fitted with a variety of locking systems, including a drawbridge for horses, carriages and pedestrians, a metal grate and, more recently, double hinged doors. Venice conquered Sirmione in 1405, immediately adopting provisions to render the fortress even more secure, fortifying its outer walls and widening the harbour.
Thanks to its strategical geographical location as a border outpost, Sirmione became a crucial defence and control garrison for the ruling nobles, retaining this function until the 16th century, when its role was taken up by Peschiera del Garda.