In mid-14th century, the owner of Koźmin, upon royal conferment, was Maćko Borkowic, Voivode of Poznań, famous for his wealth and robberies, whom King Casimir the Great ordered to be starved to death, on account of his numerous crimes. His brother Jan of the Nałęcz family took over the property after him; since mid-14th century, accounts mention a certain Bartosz Wezenborg, son of Peregryn, to whom erection in Koźmin around the year 1360 of a new mediaeval fortified castle edifice is ascribed.
Built of bricks around mid-14th century, the castle was quadrilateral-shaped, close to square-shaped. The inner yard was surrounded by high-rising walls on three sides; on the fourth, it was closed up with a two-storey single-tract residential building founded on a quasi-L-shaped projection and covered with a tall roof. The ramparts’ angles were reinforced by powerful buttresses; to the east, where the town was situated, a quadrate gate tower was situated, with a bridge crossing the moat surrounding the castle.
Around 1470, the property was purchased by the Gruszczyńskis of the coat-of-arms Poraj; the family’s line settled down in Koźmin started naming themselves Koźmiński soon after. It was on their initiative that, still in 15th century, the castle was reconstructed and redeveloped, a project that was mainly due – it is believed – to the changes having taken place in that period in the fortification system, which themselves were caused by the invention of firearms.
The building survived in such form to mid-16th century when it was transferred to the Górka family of the coat-of-arms Łodzia. The rebuilding exercise managed by this family has altered the castle’s shaping, giving it certain features of modern-era residence.
It was only after the estate was taken over in 1701 by the Sapieha family, who lasted in Koźmin by the end of 18th century, its developments gained a uniformed character, the façades being given a baroque décor.
In one of the inner yard’s corners, a tower containing a stairwell was built; also, the interiors were reconstructed, gaining a more representative character. The scale of the project then undertaken can be testified to by the theatre room arranged by the Sapiehas on the premises, or the fountain, once in operation at the yard, as historic records tell us. The castle as pictured in a panorama of the town from 1772 shows an impressive edifice whose solid is dense and consists of three two-storied wings, forming an U-like shape to frame the inner yard with a turret and a tremendous corner donjon.
In 1904, the estate came to the hands of the so-called Colonisation Committee. The buildings were henceforth to serve schooling purposes – as they have been doing to date.
The castle is presently home to Post-Junior-High Schools and the Museum of the Koźmin Land.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.