Ogrodzieniec Castle is a ruined medieval castle originally built in the 14th–15th century by the W³odkowie Sulimczycy family. Established in the early 12th century, during the reign of Boles³aw III Wrymouth, the first stronghold was razed by the Tatars in 1241. In the mid-14th century a new gothic castle was built here to accommodate the Sulimczycy family. Surrounded by three high rocks, the castle was well integrated into the area. The defensive walls were built to close the circuit formed by the rocks, and a narrow opening between two of the rocks served as an entrance.
In 1470 the castle and lands were bought by the wealthy Cracovian townsmen, Ibram and Piotr Salomon. Then, Ogrodzieniec became the property of Jan Feliks Rzeszowski, the rector of Przemy¶l and the canon of Cracow. The owners of the castle about that time were also Jan and Andrzej Rzeszowskis, and later Pilecki and Che³miñski families. In 1523 the castle was bought by Jan Boner. After his death, the castle passed to his nephew, Seweryn Boner, who replaced the medieval stronghold with a renaissance castle in 1530–1545.
In 1562 the castle became the property of the Great Marshal of the Crown Jan Firlej, as a result of his marriage with Zofia- the daughter of Seweryn Boner. Later on, in 1587, the castle was captured by the arms of the Austrian archduke Maximilian III, the rejected candidate to the Polish-Lithuanian throne. In 1655, it was partly burnt by the Swedish troops, who -deployed here for almost two years- destroyed the buildings considerably. From 1669 on, the castle belonged to Stanis³aw Warszycki, the Cracow"s castellan, who managed to partly rebuild the castle after the Swedish devastations.
About 1695 the castle changed hands once again becoming the property of the Mêciñski family. Seven years later, in 1702, over a half of the castle had burnt down in the fire set by the Swedish troops of Charles XII. After the fire, it was never to be rebuilt. About 1784 the castle was purchased by Tomasz Jakliñski, who did not care for its condition. Consequently, the last tenants left the devastated castle about 1810. The next owner of the Ogrodzieniec Castle was Ludwik Koz³owski, who used the remains of the castle as a source of building material and sold out the castle"s equipment to the Jewish merchants.
The last proprietor of the castle was the neighbouring Wo³oczyñski family. After the Second World War, the castle was nationalized. The works aimed at preserving the ruins and opening them to the visitors were started in 1949 and finished in 1973.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.