The Church of St. Blaise is a Baroque church in Dubrovnik and one of the city's major sights. Saint Blaise (St. Vlaho), identified by medieval Slavs with the pagan god Veles, is the patron saint of the city of Dubrovnik and formerly the protector of the independent Republic of Ragusa.
The church was built in 1715 by the Venetian architect and sculptor Marino Gropelli (1662-1728) on the foundations of the badly damaged Romanesque medieval church. He modeled the church on Sansovino's Venetian church of San Maurizio.
The church consists of a single square nave with a ground plan in the form of an inscribed Greek cross, an apse flanked by two sacristies and an oblong cupola in the center. A flight of stairs leads to the portal, decorated with statues of angels. The facade is divided by four Corinthian columns. On top of the facade is a semicircular gable and a balustrade with three statues by Marino Gropelli: a free standing Saint Blaise (in the middle) and personifications of Faith and Hope.
The barrel-vaulted interior is richly decorated in Baroque style. The Corinthian columns in the center bear the tambour of the cupola and lantern. The corners of the nave show blind cupolas. The main altar, in a combination of white and polychrome marble, shows in a high niche a precious, gilt silver Gothic statue of Saint Blaise, crafted in the 15th century by an unknown local master. The saint shows in his left hand a scale model of the Romanesque church which was destroyed by the earthquake in 1667. He is flanked by two kneeling angels. This statue was the only one to survive the fire of 1706. The domed antependium is decorated with two angels who unveil a curtain in front of a medallion.References:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.