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:
The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.
According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.
In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.
The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.
The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.
In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.
The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.