Château de Domfront is a ruined castle dating from the 11th century. In 1049, the castle, belonging to Guillaume II Talvas, lord of Bellême, was besieged by William the Conqueror, duke of Normandy. In 1092, the people of Domfront revolted against Robert II de Bellême, Earl of Shrewsbury, transferring their allegiance to the third son of William the Conqueror, Henri Beauclerc, who became duke of Normandy (1106) and King of England (1100).
In 1169, it was at Château de Domfront where Henry II of England received the papal legates who came to reconcile him with Thomas Becket. After being a royal domain, in 1259 Louis IX of France gave Domfront to Robert II, Count of Artois, as dowry for his wife. After his death (1302), in compensation for not getting Artois, in 1332 his grandson Robert III of Artois was given the Norman property and appanages that had been confiscated.
In 1342, Philip VI of France ceded the Domfront country to the Count of Alençon who, in 1367, reunited Domfront and Alençon. In the meantime, in 1356, troops of Charles II of Navarre (Charles the Bad), king of Navarre, commanded by Sir Robert Knolles, took the place and held it until 1366. During the winter of 1417-1418, the castle was besieged by the English commanded by the Duke of Clarence and fell on the 10 July 1418. The French recaptured it for a time in 1430. It was finally taken by the French on 2 August 1450.
Ownership was again disputed in 1466-1467. In 1574, the Château de Domfront, serving as a refuge for the Count of Montgomery, was besieged by royal troops under Marshal Matignon, capitulating on 27 May. The count was beheaded in Paris in 1574 on the orders of the Queen.Maximilien de Béthune, duc de Sully ordered the demolition of the castle in 1608.
The ruins include the keep, the enceinte, ramparts, towers, casemates and the former Sainte-Catherine et Saint-Symphorien chapels. The castle ruins have been repaired since 1984 by the Association pour la Restauration du Château de Domfront. The ruins stand in a public park and are open to the public free of charge.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.