Krustpils Castle (Kreutzburg) is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Latvia. The first written reference of the Krustpils dates from 1237, when the Archbishop of Riga built a castle named Kreutz. In 1359, the Livonian order took seven castles belonging to the Riga Archbishopric, being Krustpils among them. During the Livonian war in 1559 the castle was devastated.
When the Livonian state was dissolved, Krustpils became property of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1561 to 1772, while the opposite Jēkabpils was part of the Duchy of Courland and Zemgale. The difference between the Latgalian language and the Selonian dialect of the inhabitants on either side of the Daugava River remains as of today. In 1585,Stephen Báthory of Poland granted a large area which included Krustpils to general Nikolai von Korff, whose family owned the castle until the Latvian agrarian reforms of 1920 came into effect. As Krustpils castle became a residence of landlords, it gradually lost its medieval character.
In the 18th century the castle got a representative look when Baroque elements were added to exterior of the castle. At the time of the Russo-Turkish War from 1877 to 1878, there was a camp for Turkish prisoners of war, many of whom settled here permanently.
Krustpils castle together with other buildings of this complex was transferred to the Latvian army after 1920 and the Latgale artillery regiment was located there. During the Second World War infirmary of the German army was located there. The Military hospital of the Red Army was placed to Krustpils after August 1944.
During the Soviet times regiments of Soviet army were located in the castle such as the 16th regiment of long-range intelligence aviation and main storehouses of the 15th air regiment. For 50 years the premises were not managed and were close to be considered as ruins. After 1991 there has been ongoing active investigation and renewal of the castle.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.