Mont-Dauphin is one of the many places fortified by Vauban in the second half of the 17th century. Following invasions of Provence by Savoy in 1691 and 1692, Louis XIV dispached Vauban to put the frontier in a better state of defence. In 1692 he came to the Plateau de Mille-Aures, which overlooks both of the invasion routes used by the Savoyards, to fortify it.
The ground in question was on a high hill, roughly four-sided and only readily accessible on one side, another side being steep but passable and the further two sides being cliffs. This meant that the place would only require a short amount of bastioned front, the remainder only requiring a basic wall. The plateau was previously uninhabited, so it was decided that a new town would be built within the fortifications. Plans were made for a front of three arrow headed bastions and two demi-lunes in the north, where the defences were most approachable.
To the south, Vauban planned a trace of smaller bastions, this approach being all but inaccessable. The entrance here was carried over a small demi-lune. Later in the 18th century, the trace of the southern defences was altered, but this demi-lune remained, leaving it oddly skew from the wall. There were serious problems obtaining enough stone for revetting the ditches and ramparts. Thirdly, the threat of invasion from Savoy subsided before the fortifications were completed and the fortress lost its immediate importance. Despite this, Mont-Dauphin was strengthened after French troops suffered a defeat nearby in 1745. For the rest of the century, the barrack buildings multiplied, but some elaborate and extensive plans for extra layers of defence drawn up in 1747 were shelved.
One of the additions that was actually realised is a lunette called the lunette d'arçon, which is an advanced work in the north, but is connected to the fortress by an underground passage. The fortifications at Mont-Dauphin are in very good condition.
In 2008, the place forte of Mont-Dauphin, was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as part of the 'Fortifications of Vauban' group.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.