Bojnice castle is a neo-Romantic castle with some original Gothic and Renaissance elements built in the 12th century. Bojnice Castle is one of the most visited castles in Slovakia, receiving hundreds of thousands of visitors every year and also being a popular filming stage for fantasy and fairy-tale movies.
Bojnice Castle was first mentioned in written records in 1113, in a document held at the Zobor Abbey. Originally built as a wooden fort, it was gradually replaced by stone, with the outer walls being shaped according to the uneven rocky terrain. Its first owner was Matthew III Csák, who received it in 1302 from the King Ladislaus V of Hungary. Later, in the 15th century, it was owned by King Matthias Corvinus, who gave it to his illegitimate son John Corvinus in 1489.
The Thurzós, the richest family in the northern Kingdom of Hungary, acquired the castle in 1528 and undertook its major reconstruction. The former fortress was turned into a Renaissance castle. From 1646 on, the castle"s owners were the Pálffys, who continued to rebuild the castle.
Finally, the last famous castle owner from the Pálffy family, Count János Ferenc Pálffy (1829-1908), made a complex romantic reconstruction from 1888 to 1910 and created today"s beautiful imitation of French castles of the Loire valley. He not only had the castle built, but also was the architect and graphic designer. He utilized his fine artistic taste and love for collecting pieces of art. He was one of the greatest collectors of antiques, tapestries, drawings, paintings and sculptures of his time. After his death and long quarrels, his heirs sold many precious pieces of art from the castle and then, in 1939, sold the castle, the health spa, and the surrounding land to Ján Ba»a.
After 1945, when Bata"s property was confiscated by the Czechoslovak government, the castle became the seat of several state institutions. On 9 May 1950, a huge fire broke out in the castle, but it was rebuilt at government expense. After this reconstruction, a museum specializing in the documentation and presentation of the era of architectural neo-styles was opened here. Bojnice Museum is now part of the Slovak National Museum today.
Bojnice Castle is surrounded by the castle park featuring numerous species of trees. The park also contains the Bojnice Zoo, the oldest and one of the most visited zoos in Slovakia. The castle park continues in the form of a forest park in the Strážov Mountains. There is also 'The Linden Tree of King Matthias', approximately 700 years old, one of the oldest documented trees in Slovakia.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.