The Spyker (Spycker) Castle and estate is the oldest profane structure on the Baltic Sea island of Rügen. Spycker was first recorded in 1318. It belonged then to the Stralsund patrician family von Külpens. In 1344 a daughter from the House of von Külpen married the Jasmunds. As a result the Spyker branch of the von Jasmunds was founded which died without issue in 1648.
As a result of the Thirty Years' War, Pomerania, and hence Rügen, fell to Sweden under the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648. As a reward for his wartime services, Queen Christine of Sweden gave the now empty seat of Spycker in 1649 to the Swedish field marshal and later governor-general of Swedish Pomerania, Carl Gustav Wrangel. The castle, originally furnished with a defensive moat, was remodelled after 1650 into its present appearance as a Renaissance schloss and painted in Swedish Falu red, which was atypical of Rügen. Fully sculptured stucco ceilings, unique in the Baltic region, date to around 1652.
After the death of Carl Gustav Wrangel in 1676, the property passed to his daughter Eleanora-Sophia, wife of the Lord of Putbus. Eleanora-Sophia died in 1687, and the property went to the Swedish family of Brahe, with whom her older sister was connected by marriage. After its occupation by the Napoleonic troops in 1806/07 Spycker temporarily became the seat of the French governor of Rügen. In 1815, Rügen, which had hitherto been Swedish, was handed over to Prussia. Magnus Fredrik Brahe sold Spycker in 1817 and it came into the possession of Prince Wilhelm Malte I of Putbus.
Until the land reform in the Soviet Occupation Zone in 1945, the estate remained in the possession of the von Putbus family. In subsequent years, the castle was left to decay. From the 1960s until 1989, the East German trade union federation, FDGB, used the castle as a holiday home. Since 1990, the castle has been used as a hotel and, in 1995, it was restored in line with its historical appearance. The hotel has 32 guest rooms.
In March 2006, the castle and its 67,000-square-foot estate was purchased at a forced sale by the present owner Dominik von Boettinger. Today Spyker Castle is a hotel and restaurant.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.