Garðar was the seat of the bishop in the Norse settlements in Greenland. In the sagas it is told that Sokki Þórisson, a wealthy farmer of the Brattahlíð area launched the idea of a separate bishop for Greenland in the early 12th century. He got the approval of the Norwegian King. Most of the clergy would come from Norway. The first bishop of Garðar, Arnaldur, was ordained by the Archbishop of Lund in 1124. He arrived in Greenland in 1126. In the same year he started with the construction of the cathedral, devoted to St. Nicholas, patron saint of sailors. The diocese was first assigned to the Archbishopric of Bremen. The diocese of Garðar was subject to the Archbishop of Lund from 1126–1152. In 1152 the diocese of Greenland, as well as those of Iceland, the Isle of Man, the Orkney Islands, and the Faroe Islands became subject to the newly established Archdiocese of Nidaros.
Bishop Arnaldur returned to Norway in 1150 and became bishop of Hamar in 1152. His successor was Jón Knútur, who served from 1153–1186. The third bishop was Jón Árnason (nicknamed Smyrill), who took office in 1189. In 1202–1203 he went on a pilgrimage to Rome and met the Pope. He died in Garðar in 1209 and was buried there, most likely in the Northern Chapel of the cathedral.
The next bishop, Þór Helgi, arrived in Greenland in 1212 and was bishop until his death in 1230. In 1234 Nikulás was ordained, but he arrived in Greenland only in 1239. He died in 1242. Ólafur was ordained in the same year, but arrived only in 1247. He remained bishop until the mid-1280s. He was abroad from 1264 to 1280, thus hardly serving in his own diocese. The next bishop was Þór Bokki who stayed in Garðar from 1289 until his return to Norway in 1309.
The next one to serve was bishop Árni, who served from 1315 to 1347. Due to the poor communication between Greenland and Norway, it was assumed that he had died and a new bishop (Jón Skalli) was ordained in 1343. When it was discovered that the bishop was still alive, he resigned and never went to Greenland.
After the death of bishop Árni in 1347 it took a long time for the next bishop to arrive, mainly due to the worsening communications. Bishop Álfur was ordained in 1368 and served as last bishop of Garðar until 1378. The Greenland diocese disappeared in the 1400s, when the ship departures from Norway stopped.
Presently the settlement of Igaliku is situated on the same location. The site has been the subject of archaeological investigations since the 1830s.The cathedral has been the primary target of much of the archaeological work and was fully excavated in 1926 by Danish archaeologist Poul Nørlund (1888–1951). Nørlund made several scientific studies in Greenland starting in 1921 and ending in 1932.
Many ruins of the Norse settlements can still be seen in Igaliku today. The ruins mostly consist of the stone foundations of the walls in their original positions so that the extent of the settlement, both individual buildings and collectively, can be determined and understood. The main ruin is of the Garðar Cathedral, a cross-shaped church built of sandstone in the 12th century. The maximum length is 27 m, the width 16 m. There are also two large barns on the site with the capacity to have held up to 160 cows. The see ran the largest farm in Greenland.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.