Branik Castle, also known as Rihemberk Castle, is a 13th-century castle above the village of Branik. Fortified settlements have been present on the hill since prehistoric times; the site was once occupied by a Roman castrum. The date of the founding of the castle is unclear, but the noble house of Rihemberk is first recorded in 1230, originating from Riffenstein in Tyrol (now the castle of Reifenstein in Freienfeld, northern Italy). The family received substantial properties in fief from the Counts of Gorizia, including estates in the Vipava Valley, the Kras plateau, in the outskirts of the town of Gorizia and elsewhere. The Rihemberg male line died out in 1371.
In the 14th and 15th centuries the lordship contracted to the immediate surroundings of Rihemberk, a small part of the Vipava Valley, and the Kras Plateau. After the Counts of Gorizia died out in 1500, the castle passed to the Habsburgs. In 1528 both it and the surrounding lands were acquired by the noble house of Lanthieri, who added a residential palacio in 1649.
The Lanthieris retained the castle for a full 417 years, until World War II. On the night of 22–23 July 1944, partisans resistance fighters assaulted the castle, blew it up and set it on fire, so as to deny its use as an outpost to the German Army. All furnishings were destroyed. In 1945, the castle was nationalized. Since the 1980s, it has since been gradually restored, though all prewar structures have not yet been fully rebuilt.
The Romanesque foundations of the castle are still evident in some places. The castle complex is centered on a prominent 13th-century round keep, around which a substantial baroque residential tract was later developed, all surrounded with renaissance defensive walls and 16th century corner turrets. The older structures contain some Gothic elements, notably the castle chapel.
The building took its current shape in the 17th/18th centuries, when it was turned into a baroque residence. Significant remodeling was carried out in the 19th century as well, notably the romantic crenellations of the walls.
A walled garden - partially preserved - once occupied the south slope below the castle. The design of the entrance gate suggests the garden belongs to the baroque period of the castle.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.