The oldest parts of the Medelplana church date from the 1100s, with the tower added in the 1300s and the choir and armory coming later. At one time the church may have been dedicated to St. Helena (Elin) of Skövde and Götene. What is believed to be St. Helena's altar is currently the baptismal altar. In the village as it was in the middle ages, there was also a St. Helena's spring, which was later excavated and restored. It is situated by the road just north of the church.
Inside the south door stand two well-preserved lily stones from the 1100s. A gap where stairs used to be is on the church's north side, and an old box for contributions to the poor also is found there.
In 1611 the Danes were devastating the area, and among other deeds they burned the town of Skara. In Medelplana there was a pastor by the name of Jonas Andersson Grodt, and when he heard stories about how the Danes were causing havoc, he collected his own silver items and presumably the church's silver collection. According to a registry drawn up prior to the disappearance, the collection consisted of two silver goblets and a box made of silver for consecration wafers. He went off to the east from the parsonage in Medelplana, away to a little brook that flowed past the pastor's cottage at Kollängen. There he dug down and buried all the silver, so as to hide it from the Danes if they should come. Grodt died almost immediately thereafter, without revealing where he had hidden the silver treasure.
Many people have searched the treasury, but until now no one has found it. It is also thought that it may have been found and perhaps melted down, or that the entire story is a fabrication. The legend-encrusted silver treasure still sits brooding on its secret. It may be that some time in the future it will be discovered.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.