Saint-Bertrand-de-Comminges Cathedral was originally built in the 12th century in Romanesque style. Over the northern and southern walls there are still Romanesque arches, the floor is made of marble and includes some tombs and sepulchurs. The cloister is also clearly Romanesque and offers an impressive view over the entire valley.
The Gothic part is built in the Meridional Gothic style. There is a single nave that is 55m long, 16m wide and 28m high. Over the arrow arches there are the coats of arms of the founding bishops. The stained glass windows are impressive with their intricate details, almost comparable to those of Auch.
The stalls within the choir were commissioned by Jean de Mauléon but because of the lack of documents it is impossible to name the artist that made them, although, by comparison with other stalls, these are often considered to be the work of Nicolas Bachelier, or rather, of his school which had been using artists from France, Spain and Italy. Most of the work was done in oak and walnut tree, and the choir seems to be separate from the rest of the church in that it contrasts so much with the Gothic and Romanesque parts.
The sixty-seven stalls represent characters from both the Old and the New Testaments.
Bizarrely, there is a stuffed crocodile inside the cathedral. This fact, as well as a general description of the cathedral itself and details of its history, features prominently in Canon Alberic's Scrap-Book, a ghost story by M. R. James.
The former cathedral has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the World Heritage Sites of the Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France.References:
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.