The Cathedral of St. Lawrence serves now as the most imposing monument in the city of Trogir. It is part of the historic core of Trogir, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The cathedral was built on the foundations of an Early Christian cathedral destroyed in the 12th century during the sack of the town by the Saracens in 1123. The building of the cathedral began in 1213 and finished during the 17th century. Like the older one, it is also dedicated to St. Lawrence but it is better known as St. John's Cathedral after bishop John, who died in 1111 and stood out for his saintly lifestyle at a time when the Hungarian King Koloman had taken over Dalmatia and Croatia. Most of the work in the construction of the cathedral took place in the 13th century, being largely completed in 1251. That means the building is mainly in Romanesque style, whilst the vault inside is gothic as it was built during the 15th century, in Mannerist style.
Work on the bell tower began at the end of the 14th century, but it was not completed until the end of the 16th century. The first floor is in Gothic style and was built by Masters Stejpan and Matej. After it had been demolished by the Venetians in 1420, it was restored by Matija Gojković. The second floor is in low Gothic style and was probably the work of Venetian masters, as it is reminiscent of the windows of the famous Venetian Palazzo Ca d'Oro. The final floor was built by Trifun Bokanić (1575–1609). On top of the bell tower there are four statues, the work of Venetian sculptor Alessandro Vittoria (1525–1608). In the centre of the facade, within a small round opening, there is the carved coat of arms of the most powerful King, Ludvic of Angevin dynasty.
Trogir cathedral is the most archaic example in the construction of interior arcades in Dalmatia with heavy elongated piers separating the two Gothic-ribbed aisles from the nave, vaulted later also in Gothic style in the 15th century, three semi-circular apses and a vaulted interior above which rises the Campanile. Unfortunately, only one of the two planned towers (the southern), was raised. The cross vaults and the earlier terraces above the aisles are of Apulian influence.
A large vestibule was added in the 15th century and the artistically well-executed Gothic rosette on the western facade is from the same period. At the far end of the entrance hall there is a Gothic and Romanesque baptistery which was added to the cathedral in about 1467 by Andrija Aleši (1430–1504), a sculptor of Albanian origins and a pupil of Juraj Dalmatinac. The Gothic sacristy was added to the cathedral in the 15th century. The outside thick wall is divided by pilasters and pierced with arched opens.
The local architect and sculptor Master Radovan worked on the cathedral's gateway (main west portal) early in its construction. Most of the portal was carved by the master himself but some other hands are distinguishable, those of his pupils and followers. Finished and signed in 1240, it is a monumental and perhaps unique work of this great Croatian artist, of whom the inscription on the base of the lunette says: 'the best of all in this artisanship'.
In terms of its thematic concept, the portal is divided into two parts: upper and lower. The upper part shows scenes from the Gospels, that is, the life of Christ. On the lunette there is the scene of the Nativity, and inside the arch above the lunette there are angels looking adoringly at the scene. The lunette and this arch are the work of Master Radovan. Over them there is another arch which also shows scenes from the life of Christ. On the interior of the doorposts there are pictures showing the various works done during the different seasons of the year. Radovan also worked on the two small columns covered in reliefs. On the exterior doorpost the saints and apostles are represented; the interior of the same posts are decorated with figures of exotic animals and legendary creatures like centaurs and mermaids. Human forms dominate the portal. Both the internal and external doorposts rest on the back of bearers bent over, who are also the work of Radovan himself. Beside the portal, standing on the backs of two lions, stand the figures of Adam and Eve.
Other significant artisans who worked on the building were Matija Gojković, Ivan Budislavić, Grgur Vidov, and Petar Pozdanić in the 15th century.References:
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.
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.
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.
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.