The Palacio de la Merced is a historical building in Córdoba. Once home to the convent of La Merced Calzada, it is now home to the Provincial Government of Córdoba, a sovra-municipal services institution of the province of Córdoba.
Excavations in the site have revealed the presence of ancient Roman ashlars. Later findings include medieval remains of a baptistery and of a crypt, identified with the Palaeo-Christian or Visigothic basilica of St. Eulalia, assigned by some scholars to the reign of king Reccared I.
The foundation of the palace is traditionally connected to Peter Nolasco, whom king Ferdinand III of Castile had donated the Basilica of St. Eulalia after the conquest of the city in the early 13th century. There are few traces of the 13th convent, however. The current edifice dates to the 18th century, the church dating to 1716-1745. The later has a Latin cross plan, with a nave, two aisles and a transept. The cloister, with a rectangular plan and round arches, was finished in 1752.
Some renovations occurred in 1850, when it became a hospital, and 1960, when it became the seat of the Provincial Deputy. In 1978 the church suffered a fire that destroyed the high altar and other artworks.References:
The Château d'Olhain is probably the most famous castle of the Artois region. It is located in the middle of a lake which reflects its picturesque towers and curtain walls. It was also a major stronghold for the Artois in medieval times and testimony to the power of the Olhain family, first mentioned from the 12th century.
The existence of the castle was known early in the 13th century, but the present construction is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain at the end of the 15th century.
The marriage of Alix Nielles to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France (master of hounds) to the King, meant the castle passed to this family, who kept it for more than 450 years. Once confiscated by Charles Quint, it suffered during the wars that ravaged the Artois. Besieged in 1641 by the French, it was partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and finally blown-up and taken by the Dutch in 1710. Restored in 1830, it was abandoned after 1870, and sold by the last Prince of Berghes in 1900. There is also evidence that one of the castles occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the person Alexandre Dumas based his Three Musketeers charictor d'Artagnan on.
During the World War I and World War II, the castle was requisitioned first by French troops, then Canadian and British soldiers. The current owner has restored the castle to its former glory.