The Presidential Palace is the official residence and principal workplace of the President of the Republic of Cyprus. It is located close to the centre of Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, and is surrounded by a thick pine woodland.
The original building was a prefabricated structure erected in November 1878 on a site known as Snake Hill, on which Richard the Lionheart is said to have set up camp. The building was shipped by the war office from London to Ceylon, its original destination; but by the time it reached Port Said, it was no longer required there, and was diverted to Cyprus. The building arrived in Larnaca and was transported to Nicosia in boxes on the backs of camels.
The building was burned down during the Enosis riots of 21 October 1931. As a result of the disturbances, a special law was enacted by Sir Ronald Storrs, the Governor of the Island, on 21 December 1931, whereby the Greek Cypriot inhabitants had to pay for the building of a new Government house. A total of £34,315 was demanded, payable by 30 June 1932.
The new building was designed by Maurice Webb of the firm of Sir Aston Webb & Sons, Westminster, London. Construction was undertaken by J V Hamilton & L F Weldon of the Public Works Department, Nicosia. The main structure was built of Yerolakkos sandstone, with harder sandstone from Limassol used for the staircases. Construction was completed in 1937, at a total cost of £70,000. Among the Palace's most prominent features are the British coat-of-arms, and four gargoyles with human heads depicting the British General Foreman in charge of construction, the head mason, the head carpenter, and an unknown labourer.
The building was originally named Government House; in 1960, it was renamed the Presidential Palace. The structure was gutted by fire during the coup d’etat by the Greek Junta and EOKA-B on 15 July 1974, and was rebuilt by the Public Works Department and Philippou Brothers in 1977. The rebuilding costs were paid by the Greek Government.
On 28 May 2010, it was announced that the building was to have a €1.2 million upgrade to reduce its carbon emissions. The project included solar panels in the car park, a new ventilation system, and replacement of windows. A further €2.7 million was spent to build a new hall for Cyprus's 2012 European Union Presidency. The new hall opened on 17 May 2012; it can seat 500 people, or 300 if seated by table.References:
Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.
Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.
It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.
Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.
Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.
The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.
The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.
With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.
Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.