Originally a Paulist Church, Varaždin church of Assumption of Mary into Heaven became a Cathedral of the newly established Diocese of Varaždin in 1997. The whole complex was built in the 17th century. The architect of the Church was George Matot, and was constructed between 1642 and 1656, when it was consecrated. A bell tower with a distinctive bulb was completed twenty years after the church. The current appearance of the Cathedral was completed in the 18th century.
The Cathedral’s facade is carved into the form of a triumphal arch with columns, gables and niches. In the central niche is a statue of Mary which was created in the 17th century. Below the niche is the Drašković Family coats of arms, who were the main donor of the Jesuit order and the Cathedral. The main altar is the largest in Varaždin, measuring 11m by 14m. In the manner of the baroque, the imitation marble columns that carry the entire altar are in fact wooden as well as the altar. At the top of the central altar is a scene of the Holy Trinity. Above the tabernacle is a relief depicting a representative image of the Last Supper by an unknown Baroque painter, with the theme of the Ascension of Mary.
The cathedral has six chapels; three on each side of the nave. The first chapel on the right hand side is dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, and is adorned with images and plastic that speak of the life and merits of this Saint. The second chapel has no altar, just images of the execution of a female saint and Ignatius of Loyola; the founder of the Jesuit order. The third chapel reveals good baroque paintings by an unknown painter, which shows Jesus – the ruler of the world – and image of the Assumption.
To the left side of the nave is the sanctuary of the first chapel dedicated to Ignatius of Loyola. The central image depicts Jesus appearing in a vision to Ignatius Loyola. To the side are sculptures of St. Fabian and St. Sebastian. On the second left is a picture of the Chapel of St. Francis of Serafin. The third chapel belonged to the Draškovic Family, and is separated by beautiful wrought iron railings. It houses a richly gilded baroque altar of the Holy Cross. This depicts the sacrifice on the cross and five sculptures; Veronica, Barbara, Mary, John and Mary Magdalene.
Built along with the Cathedral was the monastery. The use for the building itself changed frequently after the prohibition of the Jesuits and the abolition of Pauline monastery in Croatia. Today it houses the Faculty of Organization and Informatics. The frescoes and stucco work on the stairs that you can see from the street are the only features to survive along with the external structure.
The Jesuits completed the construction of the complex by building of the Gymnasium. It began as a wooden building until 1651, when the single-storey corner building was built. Today, the building is the office of the Bishop Ordinary.
The Jesuits founded the School upon their arrival in Varaždin, beginning work in 1636. The School is the third oldest in the country, built immediately after those in Rijeka and Zagreb. The School has over the centuries come to symbolize the city.References:
Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.
Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.
It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.
Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.
Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.
The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.
The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.
With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.
Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.