Wijenburg was an important castle in the Duchy of Guelders and the Lords of Echteld who lived in the castle enjoyed great prestige until there was a disagreement between the Duke of Guelders and Lord Otto van Wijhe in 1492. At the beginning of the 20th century, the castle was saved from demolition by Baron Van Verschuer and restored by Stichting Geldersche Kasteelen national heritage foundation.
The history of Wijenburg Castle dates back to the 12th century, when a fortified tower was built and the castle has been extended further and further over time. For centuries, the castle was occupied by the extensive and influential Van Wijhe family. By around 1400, the castle had grown into one of the most important political centres in the Duchy of Guelders. Duchess Catharina, the wife of Duke Willem van Gulik, was even godmother to one of the descendants of the Van Wijhe family.
In 1492,Otto van Wijhe had a disagreement with the newly-appointed Duke, Charles of Guelders, after he had sided with Charles’ arch-enemy, the House of Burgundy. Otto was taken prisoner and even tortured; his castle was set on fire, the moat was filled in and he was deprived of his most important noble rights. His grandson, Otto, managed to redeem the family’s name to some extent: he studied law and became Lord of Echteld in 1568. As if by a miracle, one of his diaries has been preserved along with two friendship books. These give us a fascinating insight into life in a 16th-century castle.
The castle remained in the Van Wijhe family (by marriage) for many years. In 1928, the two elderly ladies Anna and Wil van Balveren sold the castle to their nephew, B.F. Baron van Verschuer. In 1956, the Baron handed the castle over to Stichting Geldersche Kasteelennational heritage foundation, which carefully renovated the by-then dilapidated castle and restored it to its former glory. The castle is now known as one of the most popular wedding locations in Gelderland.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.