Frankenstein Castle is a medieval fortification on a spur above the village of Frankenstein. The name first appeared in a document of 1146 mentioning the free nobleman Helenger of Frankenstein. But the beginning of the castle is assumed to be at an earlier date because the erection of a defensive tower around 1100 is reported in various documents.
The tower belonged to nearby Limburg Abbey in charge of security on the road to Speyer, Dürkheim und Worms. In 1205, the monastery commissioned the counts of Leiningen with this task. The counts had the tower expanded to a castle in the beginning of the 13th. century.
From 1204 to 1231, documents mention the knights Marquard, Friedrich and Helenger von Frankenstein as administrators in charge of the castle. Around 1390 Frankenstein Castle became a joint heritage castle when Limburg Abbey pledged half of the castle to the Lords of Einselthum. A part of this pledge was taken over by the counts of Nassau -Saarbrücken and Leiningen-Hardenburg in the beginning of the 15th. century.
In the second half of the 15th. century the castle was damaged in the struggles between Prince-elector Frederick I and Count Palatine Ludwig I of Zweibrücken. The castle suffered further damage, presumably in 1512, when the Count of Nassau conquered it on orders of emperor Maximilian I. During the German Peasants' War the castle was destroyed and was considered uninhabitable as of 1560. Nevertheless it served military purposes because of its strategic position.
In the Thirty Years' War the Spanish General Ambrosio Spinola captured the castle. In the War of the Spanish Succession it was used to accommodate French troops. It is confirmed that these troops still used the castle chapel for mass in 1703.
In 1706, the Electoral Palatinate took possession of the Nassau-Saarbrücken share of the castle.
After the Palatinate had become part of Bavaria, the ruins of the castle were secured in 1883–84. Another upgrading took place in 1938–39.
Today the castle is owned by the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. In the 1970s and 1980s some parts oft the castle were restored and foundations of a previously unknown shield wall were unearthed.References:
The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.
The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.
The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.
The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.
Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.
Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.