According to legend, the castle Veveří was founded by Duke Conrad of Brno in the middle of the 11th century. Nevertheless, the first written mention about the castle is from the years 1213 and 1222, when King Přemysl Otakar I used the fortified castle as a prison for rebellious peers. Initially, it was apparently a wooden or masonry residence situated near the Romanesque church of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary west of the present compound. In the 1220s a stone castle on the extremity of the rocky promontory behind a deep moat cut out of the rock started to grow. The keep is the only structure which has remained well-preserved from this oldest building stage.
King John of Bohemia pledged the castle to nobleman Jan of Vartemberk in 1311, but his son, Margrave of Moravia Charles (later Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV), received the property as a debt settlement in 1335. Charles´ younger brother, Margrave Jan Jindřich, then took a fancy for Veveří Castle. He was responsible for the building of its rear part with two towers and an outer ward. In the central area around the keep, he developed the main palace, which included a large hall and the chapel. The present appearance of the compound is the result of these building activities, giving the castle its basic silhouette of a medieval fortress.
The castle was a military-civic centre around a manor until the Hussite Wars. During the Hussite wars, Emperor Sigismund positioned mercenary forces of his son-in-law, Albrecht of Austria, around the castle, but he later pledged it to local nobleman Petr Kutěj in 1424. The Hussites besieged the castle in vain during the years 1428-1432. During the second half of the 15th century, the castle was rented by Przemyslaus II of Těšín, who decided to reinforce the castle with the construction of surrounding walls. In 1468, King of Hungary and antiking of Bohemia Matthias Corvinus started his occupation of the castle.
In 1645, the Swedish Army laid siege to Veveří Castle, but their attack was unsuccessful, as the castle was well guarded and the defenders well armed.
When the House of Sinzendorf (1707–1804) acquired the castle, an extensive reconstruction was made, and since that time, the exterior structure of the castle has remained practically unchanged. In 1742, the Prussian Army, having gained entry by the treachery of the castle steward, pillaged the interior of the estate.
Number of noteworthy renovations and reconstructions were carried out in the 1990s and since 2002 the castle is again open to the public.
The former Gothic chapel of St. Prokopius in the palace, which originally extended vertically from the ground floor to the second, was replaced in the late 19th century with separate spaces on the ground floor and a library and administrative spaces on the second floor. A preliminary plan has been developed for the reconstruction of the chapel.
Beyond the palace one proceeds through a courtyard, which was created in the early 19th century by pulling down two 13th-century royal palaces. Luckily, records remain of the appearance of these palaces. Beyond the courtyard lies the so-called English Wing, constructed in the second half of the 17th centiry in the corridor between the Gothic calls. The ground floor served to park horse carriages, while the first floor was used as an armory and later as a granary. The building stands in need of extensive and costly renovation. Yet further along is found the so-called Backyard Palace, erected in the 17th century with two valuted rooms, one above the other. The renovation plans call for it to be made into a space for cultural events.
At the southeastern conrner of the castle stands the so-called Eastern Prismatic Tower, built in the 14th century to protect the castle area from the east. South of this tower archaeological remains have been uncovered of walls of a medieval Eastern Castle Palace, which probably dates from the late 15th century and was pulled down before the mid-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.