Chao Samartín is a Castro located in the municipality of Grandas. It was founded in the Bronze Age, around the year 800 BCE.
The beginnings of this fortified village lay toward the end of the Bronze Age (about 3,000 years ago); the first defenses are from this period, a moat and a palisade that surround a sacred enclosure with an entrance preceded by some large rocks. Inside a building was located that is quite large for its era (some 60 m²).
Already in the Iron Age the inhabited area of the castro started to grow considerably. In the 4th century. the defenses existed of a wall and several moats that in their interior contained dwellings of circular and rectangular plan with rounded corners. These dwellings had one room and a roof of plant materials. The only entrance to the village was from the south through a large gate over a moat. The inhabitants were farmers, prepared foods in ceramic pots and pans and used tools of iron, copper, silver, and gold, as is shown by the objects that have been found at this location. In this era, the first sauna in this castro was built.
With the arrival of the Roman Empire, a period of peace and prosperity began that altered the defensive character of the hill fort because the inhabitants started to take advantage of the fact that nearby several gold mines were found. Their prosperity came to a halt when the settlement was suddenly abandoned after an earthquake taking place toward the 2nd Century AD.
Excavation of the castro were begun in 1990 and there is still a large part of the village hidden under the soil that has not been studied yet. Investigations showed that the settlement was suddenly abandoned, which is explained by findings of many tools, jewelry, and other objects of value that pertain to the Roman Period.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.