In 1736, Philipp Karl von Eltz-Kempenich (1665–1743), the Archchancellor of the Holy Roman Empire and Prince-Archbishop of Mainz, purchased a Vukovar manor in Syrmia, in the eastern Kingdom of Slavonia, then part of the Habsburg Monarchy ruled by Emperor Charles VI. The palace was originally built between 1749 and 1751 by the Archchancellor's descendants of the German Catholic noble House of Eltz and was gradually extended over time. The estates near the Military Frontier were, however, exposed to raids by Ottoman troops and local Hajduk paramilitary forces.

After the Yugoslav Partisans gained control over the country in late World War II, the manor was confiscated by the communist administration of Yugoslavia in 1944, and the family of Jakob Graf zu Eltz was forced to leave Vukovar. In 1990, he returned from Eltville to the newly established state of Croatia and became a member of the Sabor parliament at Zagreb. Eltz Manor, however, suffered a great deal of damage during the Croatian War of Independence, when it was bombarded by the Yugoslav People's Army during the Battle of Vukovar. However, after four years of restorations, it was completely restored to its pre-war appearance in October 2011.

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Founded: 1749
Category: Palaces, manors and town halls in Croatia

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Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.