In 1198 the abbot of Hornbach Abbey granted two hills, the Gutinberc and the Ruprehtisberc, to Count Henry I of Zweibrücken. On these hills the count built the castles of Lemberg and Ruppertstein. The construction period was probably around 1200, but the first documented record of the Castrum Lewenberc dates to 1230. Today, all that survives on the Schlossberg hill are some wall remains and the foundation of a chapel. The chapel was mentioned in 1502, but coins and shards of pottery found on the site indicate that it goes back to the second half of the 13th century.
In 1333 the castle went to Count Simon I, son of Eberhardt of Zweibrücken-Bitsch. From 1535 to 1541, his successor, Count James of Zweibrücken-Bitsch resided at the castle and remodeled it into a Renaissance schloss. Following his death in 1570 an inheritance dispute arose, which the Lehnsherr of the castle, Duke Charles of Lorraine ended by occupying the castle with his own troops in 1572. In 1606 he agreed with Count John Reinhard I of Hanau-Lichtenberg, that James' grandson would receive the Lemberg estate, whilst Charles II would hold the lordship of Bitche.
The castle and village were occupied and plundered in 1634 and 1635 during the Thirty Years' War. In 1636 the castle was razed and then only rebuilt in makeshift fashion.
In 1688 Louis XIV of France sparked the War of the Palatine Succession. He acted on the authority of his sister-in-law, Liselotte of the Palatinate. The background was his plans for expansion, which were opposed by an alliance of the German emperor, the imperial princes, Spain and England. In view of their superiority, Louis XIV, ordered that the Palatinate was to be burned. French troops probably slighted the castle in October 1689; even the bergfried was demolished.
From then on, the location no longer held any military significance. The wall remains continued to decay, usable stone was carried off and employed for other purposes, for example, the rebuilding of a village church in 1746. Since the 20th century, the castle ruins have gained in importance as a tourist attraction. In 1953, the Lemberg branch of the Palatine Forest Club renovated the castle and established a café; and since 2001 a modern extension has been built to act as a castle information centre and centre for medieval events.
One feature of Lemberg Castle is its shaft cistern, also, but not quite correctly, called the well shaft. After digging down 94.80 metres the well diggers had still not struck the ground water. So the shaft was turned into a cistern and almost horizontal adit driven to the shaft. After almost 200 metres the adit meets the shaft at a depth of about 60 metres. A spring on the hillside filled the shaft via the adit thus providing the required water supply. All the work was carried out with hammers and chisels. It is also remarkable that the tunnel ever intercepted the shaft. The well proved to be a valuable archaeological site during several excavation projects in the 1990s, especially for the period of the destruction of the castle in the 17th century.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.