Located in Baena, the Torreparedones Archaeological Park, also known as Torre de las Vírgenes and Castro el Viejo, is one of the most important archaeological places in the province of Cordoba from an archaeological viewpoint. Since the Modern Age it has been known for the casual appearance of notable remains that reflect the category it once had in antiquity.
It is located in the heart the Cordoba countryside and is part of the municipal districts of Baena and Castro del Río. It also has a visitor reception centre and a large car park.
The site was inhabited from the end of the Neolithic era until the beginning of the 16th century, reaching its maximum splendour in Iberian and Roman times, when it obtained the status of colony or municipal district. The most significant finds date from these times.
The most significant elements which the site provides these days are Roman buildings like the East door with a road in perfect condition, the forum and adjacent buildings, spas and the market, the medieval castle, a 16th century chapel, the necropolis with underground tombs and the Iberian-Roman sanctuary located to the South, outside the walls, where hundreds of votive offerings have been sculpted in stone, and where the faithful deposited their offerings for several centuries dedicated to the god which was worshipped there: Dea Caelestis.
The chance discovery of the so-called “Mausoleum of the Pompeyos”, in 1833, a monumental tomb containing the incinerated remains of 12 people from the same family, with their names etched in stone urns, was a landmark in the history of the site because it drew the attention of numerous national and foreign researchers.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.