Åre Old Church was built in the late 12th century entirely in stone, with inspiration from contemporary Norwegian church buildings, since Jämtland then was a part of Norway. It is situated at the Saint Olaf Pilgrim's Route (S:t Olofleden), and nowadays is the seventeenth stop on the route that goes from Selånger Old Church ruins at Sundsvall, situated at the Gulf of Bothnia, and crosses the Scandinavian Mountains via Stiklestad to the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway — and remains the only stone church in the Scandinavian Mountains from the Middle Ages. Other remaining medieval churches in the Scandinavian Mountains are stave churches situated in Norway.
The original church's interior dimensions were only a mere 5x11 metres, with a choir of 2.5x2.5 metres. There were only three tiny windows, so it was quite a dark church. Preserved medieval artifacts in the church are two ship candlesticks, a processional cross and an unusual wooden statue of Saint Olaf. The statue does not show him as usual with an orb in his left hand and a war axe in his right wearing a crown, but only with an orb in his left hand wearing a tricorne uniform hat of the Caroleans. The wooden statue itself was dated as being from the 14th century, but it can be older.
After centuries of warfare between Denmark–Norway and Sweden, the Second Treaty of Brömsebro made Jämtland a part of Sweden. In 1673 the church had a pulpit installed at the southern church wall according to Norwegian traditions. The baptismal font and gallery at the northern church wall also dates from the end of the 17th century. In 1736 the church was extended almost 12 metres to the west. The old choir was converted into a sacristy, and the new entrance of the church was placed to the west with a porch in stone.
A mighty reredos was added over the new altar depicting the mourning Marys and the crucifixion of Christ in the centre. Higher windows were added as well as the current pews. The characteristical bell tower was erected during the 1750s by Erik Olofsson i Rännberg. It belongs to a group of typical belltowers of the 18th century Jämtland with its onion-shaped cupola.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.