Outside the city walls, the Basilica of San Vicente was built in Caleno granite in a way that was greatly conditioned by the lie of the land and in the place where tradition situates the martyrdom and burial of Vincent, Sabina and Cristeta. It is the prime model of the Romanesque style in Ávila and its measured proportions make it a unique example of the Hispanic Romanesque style. With its outside influences and the influence of the cathedral construction, it is also the propagator of the style in the town.
It has a Latin-cross layout with three six-section naves and one transept. Interestingly, it also has a Gothic clerestory on the side naves. The narrow upper end, with its three apses, stands on a liturgical funeral crypt.
The construction began around 1120 with the building of the main body up to the west entrance; the towers and narthex of the entrance were built between 1150 and 1170 and the side naves were closed off with depressed quarter-barrel vaults; a ribbed vault was built above the central nave in Gothic style. The apse was covered with an octagonal vault halfway through the 13th century.
The storiated capitals of the main chapel, the cenotaph of the saints (by Fruchel and dating from the mid-12th century), showing the arrest, sentencing and martyrdom of Saints Vincent, Sabina and Cristeta, the west porch and the southern cornice stand as the best examples of Romanesque sculpture in the church and also in the town. The porticoed gallery was built on the south front in the 15th century.
San Vicente was the first Spanish building to be restored in historicist style, with work by Hernández Callejo, Vicente Miranda and, above all, Repullés y Vargas from the mid-19th century to the first quarter of the 20th century.The crypt boasts a statue of the Madonna of La Soterraña (15th century), which was venerated by St Teresa of Jesus.References:
Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.
The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.
In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.
Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.
About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.
Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.
A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.