The Cathedral of Saint Lawrence was founded in the High Middle Ages but rebuilt in the late 15th century, with the façade completed in 1517. It is the seat of the Diocese of Lugano, and dedicated to Saint Lawrence of Rome.
The church is known on this site from 818. In 1078 it was made a collegiata, becoming a cathedral in 1888. The original Romanesque building was oriented the opposite way to the present church, as is shown by remains of the apse discovered under the current parvise. In the 15th century the church was expanded and the entrance moved to the present position, while the open roof was covered by a groin vaulted ceiling.
There were extensive renovations in 1905-1910, when some Baroque chapels were demolished and the interior received frescoes by Ernesto Rusca.
The church's main feature is its facade, which was inspired by Giovanni Antonio Amadeo's Certosa di Pavia. It is made of white stone from Saltrio and Viggiù and of Carrara marble, and is divided in three sectors by four false columns supporting the entablature. In the middle sector is the main portal and a large rose window with decoration of cherubs executed after 1578. The decorations of the portals' frames are of high quality, with figures of puttoes, birds and lion-protomes. The central portal, called the 'Saints Portal', has five medallions with reliefs, depicting four saints and, in the middle, the Virgin with Child. Between the portal's frame and the entablature are two angels carrying torches, resembling the decoration of the Roman triumphal arches.
Between the portals, inside square frames, are busts of the Four Evangelists and of the Kings Solomon and David. The entablature frieze has 17 figures, including biblical characters and the Sibyls. Also present are animal figures, while a restoration in 2002 showed traces of a fresco. The main portal of the Romanesque church is now moved to the sacristy.
The bell tower dates, in its lower part, to the Romanesque church. The two upper storey are in the Baroque style with an octagonal lantern covered by a cupola, designed by Costante Tencalla.References:
Hluboká Castle (Schloss Frauenberg) is considered one of the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic. In the second half of the 13th century, a Gothic castle was built at the site. During its history, the castle was rebuilt several times. It was first expanded during the Renaissance period, then rebuilt into a Baroque castle at the order of Adam Franz von Schwarzenberg in the beginning of the 18th century. It reached its current appearance during the 19th century, when Johann Adolf II von Schwarzenberg ordered the reconstruction of the castle in the romantic style of England's Windsor Castle.
The Schwarzenbergs lived in Hluboká until the end of 1939, when the last owner (Adolph Schwarzenberg) emigrated overseas to escape from the Nazis. The Schwarzenbergs lost all of their Czech property through a special legislative Act, the Lex Schwarzenberg, in 1947.
The original royal castle of Přemysl Otakar II from the second half of the 13th century was rebuilt at the end of the 16th century by the Lords of Hradec. It received its present appearance under Count Jan Adam of Schwarzenberg. According to the English Windsor example, architects Franz Beer and F. Deworetzky built a Romantic Neo-Gothic chateau, surrounded by a 1.9 square kilometres English park here in the years 1841 to 1871. In 1940, the castle was seized from the last owner, Adolph Schwarzenberg by the Gestapo and confiscated by the government of Czechoslovakia after the end of World War II. The castle is open to public. There is a winter garden and riding-hall where the Southern Bohemian gallery exhibitions have been housed since 1956.