Begun as a three-aisle hall church at about the same time as the town Ribnitz was founded, the oldest pre-Romanesque parts of the St. Mary's Church are located in the western outer wall of the building. Pilister corner strips, a rounded frieze and lanset windows are amongst other remanents of this first church.
In the 14th century, the church was enlarged by the addition of two bays, and decorated by the addition of peaked arch portals in the north of south of these. After a 1455 fire, the building was rebuilt with a pentagonal choir bay and a massive ornamental helm on the top of the spire. The Great fire of 1759 destroyed this ornamental helm, as well as the building's vaulting and medieval interior. Under instruction of the court masterbuilder Johann Jachim Busch of Ludwigsluster, the tower's roof and its interior was rebuilt in a Gothic style.
The centre aisle of the church was distinguished from this time on by a semi-circular barrel-shaped timber supports, the side-aisles by a flat wooden roof. Busch envisaged a pulpit alter, and after the pulpit was relocated into the church nave, the alter was completed with the addition of the Ludwigluster court painter J.H. Surlandt; the image is a copy of Annibale Carraci's 'The Burial of Christ'. The church's northern and southern side-chapels were never restored due to insufficient funds, with the foundations also removed. Between 1841 and 1843, Georg Adolph Demmler oversaw the addition of a latern to the of a Baroque-style tower crown, heighening the tower, which still offers a sightseeing platform to visitors. In the 1970s, the church was threatened by structural damage, losing once more much of its interior: the 1883 organ, built by Friese of Schwerin, was removed. After 1980, the church was renovated, the interior again altered and a winter church on the site added.References:
Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.
Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.
It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.
Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.
Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.
The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.
The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.
With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.
Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.