Herceg Novi was founded (on a former small fishing village, existing since Roman Empire times) as a fortress in 1382 by first Bosnian King Stjepan Tvrtko I and was called Sveti Stefan or Castelnuovo. The Turks conquered Herceg Novi in 1482, and ruled for 200 years, until 1687. However, there was a short pause between 1538 and 1539 when it was held by the Spaniards before they were defeated in the Siege of Castelnuovo. Turkey ruled again until 1687, from then until 1797, the town was ruled by the Venetian Republic.
The Herceg Novi old town is amazing. It is on a fairly steep hill that leads all the way down to the sea. Wandering through the small stairways to the various plazas and fortresses is a many hour adventure. There are both Orthodox and Catholic churches that are well worth visiting.
Herceg Novi has two town squares, including the small, stone-paved Belavista (nice view), which is easy to get to from the main town square, Trg Nikole Đurkovića, once referred to as Salt Square, by walking up the stairs that lead through the town’s clock tower. Here, old stone buildings encircle the delightful church St. Arhangel Mihailo, a building unique in its architecture. This Orthodox Church is neo-Byzantine styled with Gothic and Romanesque details.
The Kanli Kula fortress dominating the old town doubles as an open-air theatre and is worth visiting mainly for the splendid views of the town and the Kotor bay.
The Spanjola fortress located higher up the mountain dates back to 16th century. Take a small street going upwards across from the Kanli Kula fortress.
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.