The Momjan castle, presently dilapidated and ivy-grown, can hardly evoke the power and wealth of the life that characterized it. It was built above the abyss overlooking the Dragonja River, today a border between Croatia and Slovenia. Located at 280 meters above the sea level, it dominates the Dragonja valley, divided from it by the Poganja brook.
Momjan was first mentioned in 1035. The Patriarch of Aquileia was given a rule over it by the deed of gift in 1102. The erection of the fortress began in the first half of the 13th century, when it was given by the Patriarch to the Counts of Devin. The owners of Momjan, the family of Woscalc from Devin and sons, were known for their fickleness and expressed their affiliation depending on interests. Fitting nicely into this feature was their constant desire to gain political functions. They were known for their disputes and conflicts with neighbours, and often fought and changed sides between the Counts of Gorizia and Patriarchs of Aquileia. Almost a cursed town, it constantly changed owners, the property was mortgaged, returned, but always important and mentioned. Thus, it was ruled by the regents appointed by Pietrapelosa and the Counts of Gorizia.
In 1548, the castle was bought by Simone Rota, of the Rota family from Bergamo, who moved to Piran just before purchasing it. Rota gave the castle the trapezoid shape with a square tower, which was renovated as residential quarters. It erected the chapel of St. Stephen and built a new stone bridge. Until it was abandoned in 1835, the castle had a residential function, after which it fell into decay as the Counts of Rota moved to a more comfortable palace in the village. As the castle was long owned by the Rota family, it is known today as the Rota Castle. Only the ruins of the castle remained as reminder of the Momjan's glorious past.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.