Krásný Dvůr is a Baroque palace with English-style landscape park and a garden inspired by that of Versailles. The first records of Krasný Dvůr date back to the 14th century, since then numerous aristocratic families held possession of it until Count Hermann Czernin von und zu Chudenitz bought it in the middle of the 17th century. Count Franz Josef Czernin von und zu Chudenitz decided to start an extensive reconstruction on a Renaissance villa built on the site of a Gothic stronghold originally constructed by Jan Maštovský of Kolovraty at the end of the 16th century.
The reconstruction project was undertaken by well-known Czech architect František Maxmilián Kaňka and was distinctly influenced by the French architecture; construction went on between 1720 and 1724. Some alterations of Chateau buildings were made at the end of the 18th century; in 1783 the chapel was erected, in 1791–92 two-pair staircases were built in the court and in the northern garden and ground arcades were walled at the same time.
Eighteen rooms and lobby galleries are open to the public. Excellent and very valuable paintings of Czech and European artists are installed here (some of the most well-known being Petr Brandl, Karel Škréta, Ludvík Kohl, Josef Bergler, Filip Kristian Benthum, Kristian Brand, Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun and a number of others), and a number of graphic arts, porcelain, china, glass, earthenware, clocks, original Adam fireplaces, furniture and other samples of historical craftsmen's skills are to be seen. Some thematic collections are also remarkable (e.g. an extensive Baroque pictorial anthology of dog-portrayals by artist Petr Václav.
The park in Krásný Dvůr, the area of which amounts to 1.0 km2, was founded in 1783–1793 by Johann Rudolf Czernin von und zu Chudenitz. He was influenced partly by his botanic inclinations and then also by his journey around Western Europe, which he undertook in 1779. In those days a new park trend had begun expanding into Europe from England. Natural scenery was to be brought into the very neighbourhood of buildings according to this trend. The principle of the landscape park is based directly on the condition of a natural landscape, not an artificially man-made one. The Chateau Park on Krásný Dvůr is true evidence of this school of thought. In accordance with taste of those days it was brightened with a number of Romantic buildings enriching vacant fields or closing various vistas of park scenes.
From the dendrological point of view you can find more than one hundred species of trees in the park, and entirely domestic or domesticated species only. A number of ancient oaks, beeches, limes, horse chestnuts, plane trees, maples and alders grow there. The most important of them is the so-called Goethe's oak (today already only a torso), the age of which is estimated at 1,000 years, which ranks it among the oldest trees in the Czech Republic. Deeper in the park we find Pan's-Temple, the Obelisk, the Vantage Pavilion, Goethe's Pavilion, a memorial plaque with the engraved names of important people who have visited the park, a hermitage, a grotto with a sarcophagus and other interesting objects. The so-called French garden, situated behind the eastern part of the Chateau, is also of note. Its parterre is solved with a pond and grassy areas, which are embellished with large yew-trees and smaller box-trees.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.