Waardenburg Castle dates from the 13th century. Only half of the original building remains: the south wing was destroyed in the Eighty Years’ War and was never rebuilt. Legend has it that the infamous Doctor Faust lived in the castle. At the end of his pact with the devil he was said to have been thrown from the castle tower.
The precise construction date of medieval castles is seldom known yet in this case, Waardenburg is an exception. On 2nd August 1265, Count Otto II of Guelders pledged the manor of Waardenburg to the knight Rudolph de Cock. Knight Rudolph first built a wooden tower, which was soon replaced by a stone tower. His son and grandson turned the keep into a round castle with three connecting wings, a circular wall, towers, fortified bailey and a moat.
According to a legend in the Geldersche Volksalmanak (Gelderland’s Folk almanac) dating from 1842, the infamous Doctor Faust lived in Waardenburg Castle. Faust had made a pact with the devil and in exchange for his soul, he could have all of the knowledge from all of the world for seven years. After seven years of abusing this power, the devil came to take his soul. He dragged Faust by his hair out of the castle tower and the indelible blood stains can still be seen on the pavement to this day.Johann Georg Faust did actually exist and he was imprisoned in Batenburg Castle for several years.
In the Eighty Years’ War the castle’s occupant, Catharina van Gelder, sided with the Spaniards, which did not please William of Orange. He besieged the castle in 1574 destroying the south side of the castle and the fortified bailey which were never rebuilt. This explains why the castle is now shaped like a horseshoe. The rest of the castle was renovated in the 17th century and was home to various noble families. The building has recently been thoroughly restored and now houses an office. Access to the castle is limited.References:
The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.
The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.
The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.
The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.
Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.
Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.