Lenzburg Castle ranks among the oldest and most important of Switzerland. The castle stands on the almost circular castle hill, which rises approximately 100 m the surrounding plain.
The prominent hill was already a settlement site in prehistoric times. For example, in 1959 a Neolithic gravesite was uncovered in the carpark. There have also been small discoveries from the Roman and Alemannic eras.
The oldest parts of the castle date to the 11th century, when the Counts of Lenzburg built it as their seat. The Palas (residence of the Count) was built in 1100 as a 4-storey, 18 m high fortified building. Together with the adjacent tower, it is one of the oldest buildings in the castle complex. In about 1230 Lenzburg castle came by marriage into the possession of the Counts of Kyburg. They then founded a fortified market settlement at the western base of the castle hill, today's town of Lenzburg.
In 1509–10, extensive work was carried out at the castle, including partial demolition and rebuilding of the unfinished Knights' Hall. In 1518 there was a serious fire. In 1520 the Landvogt received a new residence, the Landvogtei. During the Second war of Kappel in 1531, the castle served as base of operations for the Protestants.
In 1624 Landvogt Joseph Plepp drew the first precise drawings and plans of the castle, which at the time had more the appearance of a fortified farmhouse. His plans formed the basis for plans to expand it into a fortress. As the first step, in 1625 a double curtain wall and double gatehouse were constructed in a new position in the north section and the height of the earthen embankments on the east and south sides was increased. From 1642 to 1646, a wall eleven metres high was raised to form the east bastion.
During the 18th century, the Bernese developed the castle into a large grain store. For this purpose, the individual buildings were connected and partially hollowed out.
The Aargau Museum includes has a collection of approximately 40,000 historic artefacts, assembled from various sources: cantonal property, private collections bequeathed to the canton, public collections, purchases, and gifts.
Today, Lenzburg Castle offers a wide range of cultural events and activities as well as exhibitions of Aargau Museum.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.