The hamlet of Schoenfels is first mentioned by the name of Scindalasheim in a deed of 846 as a gift by Bishop Hetto of Trier to Abbot Marcuardus of Prüm.

By 1150 a document from the Abbey of Echternach refers to it as Schonefels. There follow frequent name changes over the next centuries: Schindelzein (1156), Schindelce (13th century), Scindelce (1239), Schindeltz (1434), Schindefeltz (1498), Schindviltz (1503), Schindfels (1506), Schinveltz (1517) , Schonfels (1574) as well as Schindleech, Schindals, Schinfeltz, Bellroch and finally by 1766 Schin- resp. Schoenfeltz. The name probably derives from the word scindula (shingle) meaning manufacture(r) of shingles.

In the 12th Century a person by the name of Theodorius of Schonevels is known. In 1292, before the invention of artillery, a fortified farm (primitive castle) was erected by a certain Ferri, aka Frederic of Schoenfels. It passed by marriage to the lords of Ansembourg, and later to the Sassenheims.

In the early 16th Century, Henry Schloeder von Lachen, Lord of Schoenfels and Busbach, acquired the estate. The Schloeder von Lachen coat of arms decorates the entrance to the tower.

The feudal castle of Schoenfels -of no great strategic value- was stripped of its fortifications by the French Army in 1683.

A quarrell between Theodore of Neunheuser and the Lord of Brandenburg resulted in the castle and village being burnt down on June 22nd 1690. Ch.-Antoine Schloeder von Lachen and Th. of Neunheuser began dividing their lands in 1700.

By marrying Marie-Catherine of Neunheuser in 1759 Pierre-François Gaillot Genouillace became Lord of Schoenfels. His son Francis Roman Gaillot, who had married Marie-Louise Cassal in 1774, sold his Schoenfels properties on 18th August 1813 to J B Thorn-Suttor, the Governor of the Province of Luxembourg during the Belgian period (1831-1839).

Owner of the castle since 1840, the Belgian Senator Jacques Engler, passed it on to his son in law Baron Auguste Goethals who had a splendid mansion built next to the mighty tower in 1870. The family Charles Van den Poll from The Hague inherited the castle and in 1948 sold the Schoenfels property with its vast woodlands to the timber merchant Camille Weiss, who -in turn - passed the castle to the Luxembourg state on 16th March, 1971. The mansion was demolished in 1976 by the Luxembourg State.

At present the renovation of the tower is underway. The plan is to install a visitor centre as well as the offices of the Water & Forestry Administration.

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Seville Cathedral

Seville's cathedral, Santa Maria de la Sede, is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, and is recognised as UNESCO World Heritage. After its completion in the early 16th century, Seville Cathedral supplanted Hagia Sophia as the largest cathedral in the world, a title the Byzantine church had held for nearly a thousand years.

History

The basilica occupies the site of the great Aljama mosque, built in the late 12th century by the Almohads, the ruling Moorish dynasty, of which the only remaining parts are the Patio de Naranjas, the Puerta del Perdon (on Calle Alemanes, on the north side), and the Giralda (formerly the minaret, now the belltower).

Shortly after Seville's conquest by Ferdinand III, the mosque was converted into the city's cathedral. Its orientation was changed and its spaces partitioned and adorned to suit Christian worship practices. The internal space was gradually divided into chapels by constructing walls in the bays along the northern and southern walls. Almost the entire eastern half of the cathedral was occupied by the royal chapel that would hold the bodies of Ferdinand, his wife and Alfonso the Wise.

In 1401, city leaders decided to build a new cathedral to replace the grand mosque that served as the cathedral until then. Construction continued until 1506. The clergy of the parish offered half their stipends to pay for architects, artists, stained glass artisans, masons, carvers, craftsman and labourers and other expenses. Five years after construction ended, in 1511, the crossing lantern, or cimborrio, collapsed and work on the cathedral recommenced. The crossing again collapsed in 1888 due an earthquake, and work on the dome continued until at least 1903.

Architecture

The interior has the longest nave of any cathedral in Spain. The central nave rises to a height of 42 metres. In the main body of the cathedral, the most noticeable features are the great boxlike choir loft, which fills the central portion of the nave, and the vast Gothic retablo of carved scenes from the life of Christ. This altarpiece was the lifetime work of a single craftsman, Pierre Dancart.

The Capilla Mayor (Great Chapel), dominated by a vast Gothic retablo (altarpiece) comprised of 45 carved scenes from the life of Christ, as well as Santa Maria de la Sede, the cathedral's patron saint. The lifetime's work of a single craftsman, Pierre Dancart, this is the ultimate masterpiece of the cathedral - the largest and richest altarpiece in the world and one of the finest examples of Gothic woodcarving anywhere.

The Giralda is the bell tower of the Cathedral of Seville. Its height is 105 m. The Giralda is the former minaret of the mosque that stood on the site under Muslim rule, and was built to resemble the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, Morocco. It was converted into a bell tower for the cathedral after the Reconquista, although the topmost section dates from the Renaissance.

The tomb of Christopher Columbus is one of the main attractions of the cathedral for visitors, housing the remains of the great explorer who died in poverty in Valladolid. The tomb itself is more recent, from the 1892, with four bearers presenting the kingdoms of Castile, Leon, Aragon and Navarra.