Kourion city endured from antiquity until the early Middle Ages. The city has passed through different phases from a Hellenistic, Roman, and Christian periods. For this reason the city has a very large Agora (market place) and you can find an early Christian Basilica as well within the city walls. Furthermore, large public baths which were equipped with cold, warm and hot spas were built. In the large amphitheatre which sits 2000 spectators mostly gladiator games were held, therefore in the city there is Palestra or a training place for gladiators. The whole city has beautiful floor mosaics and they are mostly found in the house of Achileas and the private bath of the founder of the city.

Three kilometers from the city is the sanctuary of Hylates (the Cypriot version of Apollo which has stunning Cypro-Corinthian columns. On the same location there exists place of worship for a woodland god dating back to 6000 BC. In between Kourion and the sanctuary of Apollo a stadium that is around 400 m long is found; this stadium could sit up to 7,000 spectators who would watch ancient Greek sports. This magnificent city is believed to have been destroyed in the 4th century when a series of 5 strong earthquakes hit the city in a period of 80 years, and this inevitably brought an end to the city as it was known.

The Roman Nymphaeum near Kourion is one of the biggest and the most impressive monuments in its kind in the Mediterranean. It was dedicated to the Nymphs, the protectors of water. It consisted of an enormous central edifice, constructed with big hewn limestone blocks. It was built in the 1st century A.D. and remodelled several times later.

The ruins of Kourion are located on one of the most fertile spots in the island, with extensive ruins and including well-preserved mosaics. Interesting places are the public baths, the necropolis, the Fountain House, House of Gladiators and House of Achilles. The most spectacular site at Kourion is the Greco-Roman theatre, or forum, that has been completely restored and is used today for open air musical and theatrical performances. It is one of the venues for the International Festival of Ancient Greek Drama.

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Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

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.

Architecture

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.