Staraya Ladoga was the first seat of Rurik in 862, and, after Rurik moved the seat to Novgorod, remained in the Novgorod Lands. It controlled one of the most important waterways at the time, the Trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks, of which the Volkhov River was a part. The stone construction in Staraya Ladoga started either in 1114 or 1116, and in the second half of the 12th century seven or eight stone churches were built, of which only two have survived to our days.
The exact year of construction of St. George's Church is unknown, but the details of architecture and painting show that it was built between 1180 and 1200. It was first mentioned only in 1445. The church was rebuilt in the end of the 16th century, but only the exterior was slightly altered. By the end of the 17th century, the interior of the church badly needed to be renovated, and the renovation was made in 1683-1684. During this renovation, new windows were made, and many of the frescoes from the walls were lost. The restorations were also carried out in 1902, 1925-1928, 1952-1962, and in the 1970s - 1990s.
The architecture of the church is typical for Novgorod. The church is based on four pillars and has one dome and three apses. The church is small (the area of the floor is 72 square metres (780 sq ft) and slightly asymmetric with respect to the north-south direction). This is explained by the fact that the church was built inside an existing fortress, and the space was quite limited.
Frescoes were painted in the same year as the church was opened. This is one of the few examples of the 12th-century frescoes in Russia. In 1445, some of the frescoes were renovated, with the emphasis on the careful reproduction of the old ones. Most of the original frescoes were lost in the 17th century. Some of them were removed from the walls and left under the new floor. These were discovered in the 20th century and restored. In 1780, some of the old frescoes were discovered on the walls. In total, about 20% of the original frescoes survived.
The whole original painting can not be reconstructed, however, it is clear that the northern and the southern walls had five rows of images each. Nothing survived from the frescoes of the western and the eastern walls. The frescoes of the dome were almost left intact. They depict the Ascension of Jesus. Below, the Apostles and the Prophets are painted.
All frescoes were made in the same style. Most likely, they were made by a group of painters, two of whom were the principal ones. Sky blue, red, and yellow colours dominate. There are also some colour variations, including the usage of white colour, which are not typical for Eastern Orthodox frescoes of the time and only have some parallels with the Byzantine painting, which gives a hint that the painters were Greek.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.