According to several historical documents, the fortifications in Colombaia island were built first time around the 260 BC, During the first Punic war. The Roman army tried several times to conquer this island, succeeding only in 247 BC, although they left it shortly after and left the territory totally in disuse, with the Castle of the Dovecote which quickly became a nest of doves that would have given way to the pagan worship of the goddess Venus Ericina, who sees his sacred animal in the dove. The arrival of the Arabi in Sicily allowed the Castello della Colombaia to finally find a new function, as it was used as a Lighthouse, being able to illuminate the seas and reactivating one of the most important military buildings until recently.
The arrival of the Aragonese in Sicily it was very important for the Castello della Colombaia, since, seeing its geographical position and the incredible advantages that it could have guaranteed, they decided to completely rebuild this military building, making it decidedly larger and more equipped than the first historical building. The works carried out by the Aragonese are still visible, as it is the same building that has come down to the present day. The Colombaia Castle was also one of the main fortifications during the reign of Charles V, as it allowed to spot and fight any incursions by pirates who intended to attack the Trapani coast. The expansion works also continued in the following centuries, with renovations that continued until the seventeenth century.
The Colombaia Castle is tall well 32 meters articulated on 4 floors, each of which was used for particular functions. The entrance was only possible from the second floor, which is why the Colombaia Castle is thought to have been equipped with a drawbridge. The structure is very large and consists of a shape octagonal, inside which there are small streets that connect the various buildings, which include the guard post, two docks, chapels and courtyards.References:
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.