Franciscan Monastery & Church of St. John the Baptist

Kloštar Ivanić, Croatia

Church of St. John the Baptist in Kloštar Ivanić is a late Gothic (stone) structure built in 1508 and it belongs to the largest of the Gothic churches in northern Croatia. The single nave church hall, with its extended sanctuary ends in a polygonal apse, with ornaments of fauna. The massive bell tower rises at the southern end of the sanctuary and is the junction between the church and the monastery. The tower is constructed of brick, while all the remaining structures and decorative elements are stone. The entire church had a cross-ribbed vault ending in a star in the apse. The façade is simple, and above the semicircular profiled portal (Renaissance) is the crest of Bishop Luka Barentin, builder of the church. The bell tower dates back to the 16th century, but its characteristics disappeared with the Baroque adaptations in the 17th and 18th centuries. During the period of the Turkish attacks, the church was torched. Restoration on the torched church began in 1677, when the vault was rebuilt, however in the Baroque variation, the vault was barrel shaped with side vaults. The façade is richly ornamented. In 1745, the crypt is built under the sanctuary, and the old altars are replaced, with the exception of the main altar from 1703 and the altar of the Holy Cross under the choir. The new altars are: the Mother of God of the Holy Rosary, 14 Assistants, St. Francis and St. Anthony. In World War II, the church was shelled and for a long period thereafter neglected. In the late 1980s began the restoration and preservation of the church, and it still continues. The inventory is from the 17th and 18th century, among which are the main altar, and the four side-altars from the 18th century, created by the Zagreb sculptor Josip Weinacht. Virtually all the paintings and sculptures were preserved and are stored in the picture gallery, and the vaults of the new Franciscan Monastery and the Parish Church in Kloštar Ivanić, which was opened in 1994. The part of the inventory which yet remains to be restored is kept in the monastery storage.

The construction of the old Franciscan Monastery began in the early 16th century, and was completed in 1748. The construction passed through several phases, all of which left their trace on the monastery. The old Bishop’s Residence, which previously had stood on the location of the monastery was included into the monastery structure.

Fearing the Turks, the Franciscans left the monastery in 1544 and returned again in 1639. Through that time, the monastery served as a base for the Vojna Krajina military district. In 1997, the Franciscans moved to the new monastery built alongside the Parish Church of St. Mary, and handed the old monastery over to the Carmelite Nuns, who there founded the Carmelite Order of Little St. Teresa.

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Founded: 1508
Category: Religious sites in Croatia

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www.visitzagrebcounty.hr

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Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.