The Cathedral Basilica of Ciutadella de Menorca was constructed on the orders of King Alfonso III of Aragon, the conqueror of the island, in 1287 on the site of an old mosque.
Construction started in 1300 and was finished in 1362, creating a building of the Catalan Gothic style, and is notable for the width of the nave, flanked by six chapels to each side. The five-sided apse is oriented to the east.
After the desecration and devastation of the cathedral by the Ottoman Empire Turks under Admiral of the Ottoman Fleet Pialí Bajá in 1558 and the collapse of the vaults of the apse in 1626, the damage was quickly repaired in the original style.
In 1795, with the restoration of the old bishopric of Menorca (which had existed at start of the 5th century) the parish church of Ciutadella came to be the cathedral of the new diocese.
Under Bishop Juano, the main façade was rebuilt in 1813 in a neoclassical style, contrasting with the Gothic style of the building, while the restored side door called the Porta de la Llum ('Portal of the Light') keeps some of its medieval ornamentation.
In the interior, the baroque chapel of the Angelus dates from the start of the 17th century with exquisitely-carved columns.
The cathedral was sacked and desecrated in the first days of the Spanish Civil War in 1936, but was restored in its current form by Bishop Bartolomé Pascual between 1939 and 1941. During this work, the Quire was moved from the nave to its current location in the apse.
The great altar is a marble monolith covered by a 15-metre-high canopy. At the back of the apse, under an image of the Virgin in the mystery of the presentation of Jesus in the temple, is found the episcopal throne, made with Roman marble blessed by Pope Pius XII to signify the links of faith and devotion of this church of Menorca to St. Peter's Basilica. In 1953 Pope Pius XII gave the cathedral the title of minor basilica.
From 1987, the seventh centennial of the conquest of Menorca by the Crown of Aragon, a new plan was undertaken for the restoration and development of the cathedral.
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.
Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.
The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.