Magdalenenberg is considered the largest tumulus from the Hallstatt period (Iron Age) in Central Europe with a volume of 33.000 cubic meters. The central tomb, where an early Celtic Prince was buried, has been dendrochronologically dated to 616 BC. The mound, which is still distinctly silhouetted against the landscape, once possessed a height of 10–12 m (now about 8 m) and a diameter of 104 meters. Little is known about the people who erected it, and current research focusses on the identification of their settlement. In the decades after the Prince's death, 126 further graves were mounted concentrically around the central tomb. At around 500 BC, this tomb was plundered by grave robbers, whose wooden spades were later found by archaeologists.
During the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, the Magdalenenberg was still seen as a significant landmark, although knowledge about its former purpose had been lost. In the 1640s, when Villingen was shaken by a series of Witch trials, several women confessed under torture to have danced with the devil on the top of the hill.
Archaeologists began to be interested in the site in as early as the 1880s. In 1890, a team led by forest official Hubert Ganter dug a cone from the top of the hill into the central tomb, expecting to find hidden treasures. However, because of the ancient robbery of the tomb, only few finds turned up. Among those were parts of a wooden carriage, the Prince's bones, and the skeleton of a young pig.
From 1970 to 1973, the archaeologist Konrad Spindler led another scientific exploration, now not only focussing on the central tomb, but on the surrounding graves as well. By excavating the whole hill, all 127 graves could be explored and finds like bronze daggers, spearheads, an iberian belt hook and a precious amber necklace were unearthed. Some of those objects are proof for trade connections to the Mediterranean area and the eastern alpine region, others allow rare insights into the Celtic burial rites. They are now on display in the Franziskanermuseum (Franciscan Museum) in Villingen, along with the Prince's wooden burial chamber (one of the largest wooden objects from the era in any museum).
Since 2011, the Magdalenenberg attracted new international attention as the possible site of an early moon calendar. The archaeologist Allard Mees of the Romano-Germanic Central Museum (Mainz) suggested that the alignment of the graves represents the stellar constellation at the time of their erection. Another part of his theory is based on large wooden poles that were found inside the hill and whose function remains a mystery. He interprets them as markers directing to the position of the lunar standstill, thus allowing the Celts to prognose lunar eclipses. His theory is hotly debated among scholars and has been criticized by some for lacking scientific evidence, while others welcomed the new approach.
Since September 2014, a new hiking trail called 'Keltenpfad' (Celtic Path) connects the Magdalenenberg with the Franziskanermuseum. Along the road, panels inform about the site's history and significance. In this context, some of the wooden poles were reconstructed at their historical position.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.