Aulencia Castle is located at the top of a little hill where the Aulencia river joins the Guadarrama river. From there, one can see a beautiful landscape, composed of the Aulencia river brook’s vegetation on one side, and the European Space Astronomy Centre on the other.
As it is for the history of this beautiful and original example of a Spanish noble mudejar castle, it is said that the Arabian feudal king who ruled this region resided here, and to him, every near townsperson paid homage and realty in order be allowed to live there. This castle is similar to many others of its time, all which still exist in different areas of Castilla, especially Jadraque (Guadalajara).
In the 14th century, it passed into the hands of García Fernández; and in the 15th century Álvarez de Toledo, a member of the court of John II of Castille, took possession of the castle. At this time, the descendants of Álvarez de Toledo, the Núñez de Toledo, raised walls around the castle in order to prevent possible attacks. During the Spanish Civil War in the 20thcentury, it was used as a fortress in the Battle of Brunete.
The majestic and slender Aulencia Castle is made up of a tower surrounded by a double wall. The exterior part is made up of six cylindrical towers united by a 1.4 m wide and 6 m high wall. The enclosure is rectangular and its longest side is 25 m long. The highest tower is up 20 m high. The territory inside the enclosure was thought to harbour simple rooms without any ornamentation. Nowadays, only ruins remain.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.