The Church of St. Mary on Škriljinah is a Gothic church with a portico, a bell gable and a wooden tabulate added. In the church interior there is the Dance of Death scene, one of the most well-known series of frescoes and, along with the Arena in Pula and Euphrasian Basilica, the most recognizable cultural monument of Istria.
Frescoes were finished in 1474 by the workshop of Master Vincent from Kastav, of which there is a Latin inscription depicted on the south wall. Although Vincent was the main painter in the Church of St. Mary on Škriljanah, Beram frescoes were the work of several artists. He was helped by two other painters, of whom one is the author of the famous Dance of Death, and the other painted the image of St. Martin the horseman, who cuts a piece of his luxurious cloak giving it to a freezing, bare and poor passer-by in order to wrap himself in it.
The impressive Adoration of the Magi, the scene filling the entire upper part of the north wall, is the most valuable work by Vincent. The first scene the visitor sees upon his/her entrance is an unusual representation of a fool. When the eye becomes accustomed to the unlit interior after a few moments, the figures of saints pop out in the field framed by a wine of acathus leaves as in a puppet theatre. Scenes from the life of Mary and Christ are intertwined with the scenes of saints. The Dance of Death is most attractive for visitors on the west wall. One of the oldest preserved representations of this theme, the teaching representation of death in those times which treats us all equally and from which no one can escape, was painted after the epidemics of bubonic plaque.
Along with the dancing dead, the pope, the cardinal and the bishop, the king and the queen, a fat innkeeper, a child, a beggar and a soldier whose robust armour cannot help, and finally a trader who is not successful in bribing death with gold ducats move toward the open grave in a silent procession. The dancing skeletons move along the rhythm set by the death itself by playing the bagpipes.References:
Château de Falaise is best known as a castle, where William the Conqueror, the son of Duke Robert of Normandy, was born in about 1028. William went on to conquer England and become king and possession of the castle descended through his heirs until the 13th century when it was captured by King Philip II of France. Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840 it has been protected as a monument historique.
The castle (12th–13th century), which overlooks the town from a high crag, was formerly the seat of the Dukes of Normandy. The construction was started on the site of an earlier castle in 1123 by Henry I of England, with the 'large keep' (grand donjon). Later was added the 'small keep' (petit donjon). The tower built in the first quarter of the 12th century contained a hall, chapel, and a room for the lord, but no small rooms for a complicated household arrangement; in this way, it was similar to towers at Corfe, Norwich, and Portchester, all in England. In 1202 Arthur I, Duke of Brittany was King John of England's nephew, was imprisoned in Falaise castle's keep. According to contemporaneous chronicler Ralph of Coggeshall, John ordered two of his servants to mutilate the duke. Hugh de Burgh was in charge of guarding Arthur and refused to let him be mutilated, but to demoralise Arthur's supporters was to announce his death. The circumstances of Arthur's death are unclear, though he probably died in 1203.
In about 1207, after having conquered Normandy, Philip II Augustus ordered the building of a new cylindrical keep. It was later named the Talbot Tower (Tour Talbot) after the English commander responsible for its repair during the Hundred Years' War. It is a tall round tower, similar design to the towers built at Gisors and the medieval Louvre.Possession of the castle changed hands several times during the Hundred Years' War. The castle was deserted during the 17th century. Since 1840, Château de Falaise has been recognised as a monument historique by the French Ministry of Culture.
A programme of restoration was carried out between 1870 and 1874. The castle suffered due to bombardment during the Second World War in the battle for the Falaise pocket in 1944, but the three keeps were unscathed.