The Krásna Hôrka Castle stands on top of the conspicuous unwooded mountain, which dominates the Rožňavská kotlina basin. The main attraction though is the embalmed body of Sophia Andrássy-Serédy. Despite the castle was extensively damaged by fire in 2012 it is said to be one of the country's best-preserved castles.
The original Gothic castle was built around 1320. The courtyard of the upper part of a rather small castle with triangle-shaped ground plan has been preserved. Fortifications were added to the castle in time of the Turkish threat. Fortifications including three canon bastions and a cannon terrace in the Renaissance style were built. In addition, it was when the interior of the castle got a more homely Gothic-Renaissance shape and when it acquired its present form.
Three generations of the Andrássy family tried to obtain the castle and finally succeeded in 1642. In 1735, the area in front of the castle gates was adapted and the small Baroque chapel of St John Nepomuk was built there.
In the second half of the 18th century, one of the bastions was rebuilt into the Baroque-Classicist Chapel of Nativity of the Virgin Mary. On the main altar of the chapel, there is a painting of black Madonna also referred to as the Virgin Mary of Krásna Hôrka, that later on became the reason of processions.
The castle houses the exhibition of the Museum of Betliar, which illustrates the history and development of the castle, as well as the way of life of nobles in the past. As the castle with its original furniture is one of the best preserved in Slovakia, it is worth visiting. The castle kitchen and the collection of arms are of special interest. The most precious exhibits are medieval and modern weapons, such as a bronze cannon from 1547 with a small barrel of gun powder and stock of cannon balls or castle rifles – harquebuses from the 18th and 19th century.
In the late 20th century, a medieval catapult was installed near the castle, which is used upon the “Castle Games” that are organized every year.
On the outskirts of the village of Krásnohorské Podhradie stands a mausoleum in the Art Nouveau style with two sarcophagi of the Andrássy family. A gallery with a collection of portraits is situated in another building at the foot of the castle hill.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.