The Maienfeld area was an important Roman era customs station on the road between Turicum (Zurich) and Brigantium (Bregenz). After the Fall of the Western Roman Empirethe area probably remained a local population center and retained some of the Roman buildings and fortifications. During the High Middle Ages the Carolingian royal estate of curtis Lupinis was built in the area and the town of Maienfeld grew up around the castle. In the 10th century the Lords of Bregenz probably built a small fortified tower near or on the site of the current castle.
The castle was built in the 13th century for the Freiherr von Aspermont and was originally known as Maienfeld Castle. After 1359 the Toggenburg Counts began expanding the fortified tower into a larger residence castle. They regularly resided and held court in the castle. The last of the line, Frederick VII added a residential wing, the so-called Neue Schloss (New Castle), across the courtyard from the old castle.
During the 1499 Swabian War the Count von Brandis found themselves on the Habsburg side. On 7 February 1499, they opened the gates of Maienfeld to an approaching Habsburg army. However, six days later a Graubünden army attacked and captured the town and castle. They plundered the town and brought Sigmund and Türing Brandis as prisoners to Chur. They were brought to their brother Johannes von Brandis, the provost of Chur Cathedral, who was forced to sell Maienfeld to pay for their freedom. After several years of unsuccessful negotiations, in 1509 Maienfeld and Brandis Castle were sold to the Three Leagues for 20,000 gulden.
In 1622 a fire devastated much of Maienfeld but left Brandis unharmed. However, two years later it was burned by Austrian troops. It was repaired and continued to house the landvogt until about 1700. In 1799 it was occupied by French troops following their invasion of Switzerland. During their occupation, they stripped and burned most of the wood in the castle and left it as a ruin. In 1807 the municipality of Maienfeld acquired the rights to the ruined castle and sold it to a private owner in 1837. Around 1860 the so-called Frauenturm, a late-medieval round bastion in the south corner of the castle, was demolished. The main tower was repaired and expanded in 1868. A new roof was added the castle in 1906. It was purchased in 1969 by the Zindel family and renovated. In 1972/73 the history of the castle was explored through an archeological exploration.
Today the castle is home to a restaurant and several rooms which are available for events or meetings.
The castle is located on the south side of the old town of Maienfeld. On the north side of the complex is the main tower, a six story square tower with walls that are 2.5 m thick. The original high entrance was located on south-west side on the third story. The fifth story is decorated with paintings from about 1320. The works at Brandis are the only known works by an artist known as the Waltensburg master which are in a secular building. The paintings include scenes from the life of Samson and Theoderic the Great, depictions of inns or taverns and coats of arms.
Surrounding the tower on the east and west are a residential wing and the remains of the old part of the castle. North of the tower is a semi-circular part of the old ring wall. South of the tower is a courtyard and the new castle which was built in the 15th century under the Toggenburg counts.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.