Jardín Botánico-Histórico La Concepción is one of most beautiful and important tropical and subtropical gardens of Spain and one of the most appreciated ones in the whole of Europe. Created around 1855 by the Marquises of Casa Loring, it was expanded some years later by the second owners, the Echevarría–Echevarrieta family. It was officially declared a Historic and Artistic Garden (currently a 'Bien de Interés Cultural' in 1943. It became the property of the Council of Málaga in the spring of 1990 that opened it to the public in 1994.
It comprises 23 hectares and it has a garden in the centre that has been declared to be a historic/artistic garden of approximately 3 hectares. Form the set of fountains and waterfalls combined with a beautiful selection of subtropical plants from all over the world, its romantic landscape style stands out with significant neoclassical features.
There are more than 25,000 plants belonging to about 2,000 different species of which 90 are palm trees, 200 are native plants and the remainder are tropical and subtropical. In relation to buildings, the Casa-Palacio (Palace House) and the Casa del Administrador (Administrator's House) stand out. The administrative offices are housed in the first one and it has generous rooms for different uses and a comfortable and well-equipped assembly hall. The laboratories for research staff, an exhibition room and a classroom can be found in the second. There are some more smaller buildings doted around the garden such as the Antigua Escuelita (Old School), la Casita del Jardinero (Gardener's House), known as the Casita de los Cipreses (House of the Cypresses), the Museo Loringiano (Loringiano Museum) and a regionalist style dome that is used because of its panoramic views of the city.
The Museo Loringiano houses the archaeological finds that Jorge Loring acquired from the excavations of Málaga and the province such as the 'Lex Flavia Malacitana' (Malaga's municipal code of law), which is currently in the National Archaeological Museum of Spain in Madrid. Some of these archaeological items can be seen around the museum.
Around the Historical Garden, we can find the Botanical Garden that contains a set of plant collections that have been structured scientifically that can be visited in the following thematic routes.References:
The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.
The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.
The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.
The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.
Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.
Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.