The setting of the Chapel of St.Gildas is one of the most beautiful in the Blavet Valley. On a grassy bank overlooking the river, it nestles under a huge granite outcrop and is the perfect spot for a picnic. The Chapel marks the site where Gildas, an Irish monk, preached Christianity to a local, mainly pagan population during the 6th century. Gildas and his fellow monk Bieuzy, are said to have lived in a cave at the base of the rock where the chapel now stands and to have had miraculous healing powers.
Legend has it that after healing the daughter of a local Count who had been seriously injured by her husband, Gildas was under threat of death and it was no longer safe for him to remain in the area. Bieuzy, however, continued to preach and was renowned for his ability to cure rabies, which was widespread at the time. Bieuzy met an unpleasant demise when he refused to interrupt one of his sermons to cure the rabid dog of a local pagan chief who later returned and attacked Bieuzy with an axe. A rather macabre statue of Bieuzy with an axe lodged in his head can be seen inside the chapel today.
The chapel is also open to the public every afternoon except Monday from mid-July to mid-September as part of the Art in the Chapels programme. Each year the organisers invite artists from all over the world to display their work in one of 26 local chapels, of which Saint Gildas is one. The Chapels make the perfect back drop for the contemporary art on display and offer visitors a wonderful opportunity to explore the architecture of these historic buildings.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.