The Church of Saint John the Baptist at the Béguinage, attributed to the Flemish architect Lucas Faydherbe, this building is a notable illustration of the Italian-influenced Flemish Baroque style of the 17th century. The church was part of the béguinage Notre-Dame de la Vigne of Brussels (an architectural complex which formerly housed beguines, lay religious women who lived in community without taking vows or retiring from the world).
The Beguines were lay women who lived a communal life but were not bound by perpetual vows. Three court Beguinages existed in Brussels but the first and largest court Beguinage was the Béguinage de Notre-Dame de la Vigne which was founded before 1247 outside the city walls.
Located near today's place du Beguinage, the community composed a miniature village of individual dwelling with a mill, laundry, and flower and vegetable garden enclosed within a wall. The Beguines built an infirmary and a small chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Vineyard served as a place of worship.
Because their community had grown to 1200 beguines at the end of the 13th century, a larger Gothic church was built at the same location where the present-day building is located. The women engaged in weaving wool and, from the 16th century onward, in making lace. From the start the Rue du Béguinage ormed the main axis of this large triangular domain of which the Rue de Laeken formed the base. The area between rue de Laeken and Quai au Bois à Brûler was known as the Beguinage quarter during the Middle Ages.
The Beguines were dispersed in 1797 during the French regime. The grounds were parceled out gradually and streets laid out. The infirmary was renovated and transformed into the Hospice Pacheco.
The previous church was a Gothic building with 3 naves and a transept that was destroyed by calvinists in 1584 during the Calvinist Republic of Brussels which lasted from 1577 to 1585. The Beguines decided to rebuild their church in Baroque style and its construction started in 1657. Attributed to the Flemish architect Lucas Faydherbe, this church is a notable illustration of the Italian-influenced Flemish Baroque style of the 17th century. Its façade is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Belgium. The church was restored after it was ravaged by a fire in November 2000.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.