Sieraków Castle was built at the end of the 14th century on the initiative of the Nałęcz family. Maćko Borkowic, the Poznań voivode or his daughter Wichna, most probably began the process, and her grandson Wincenty continued it. In the middle of the 15th century Sieraków received Łukasz Górka coat of arms Łodzia, who rebuilt the castle. In 1571 it was taken over by the starost Jakub Rokossowski, and in 1591 Sieraków bought the castellan Jan of Bnin Opaliński, who raised the castle houses and converted them into a baroque residence. In 1763 castle and estate were bought by the baron Piotr Mikołaj Neugarten von Gartenberg, using the Polish name Sadogórski, and probably during his time demolition of the northern wing was carried, leaving only the southern wing. In 1829 in relation with the construction of a new road, the remains of the castle were demolished. Only the south wing survived. In 1991 it was decided to restore the remains of the castle and to put in it the tombs of the Opalinsk family. Construction work lasted two years. In the lack of the sources of the castle’s appearance, it was decided to reconstruct the southern range only.
The castle was east of the town and was separated from it by a moat. It stood on a regular, artificial mound. Its defenses was increased by the river, surrounding from the south. The earliest phase is connected with the emergence of brick curtain walls with the gate from the east. From the south, a residential range, initially timber or half-timber framed, was located. In the 15th century a brick north range with a width of 8 meters was erected with characteristic corner buttreses. At the same time, or slightly later, a new southern building of similar dimensions was constructed. Another redevelopment introduced new partition walls and a shorter west range connector.
Today, in the rebuilt south range of the castle, there is a museum which expositions present the history of the Sieraków Region from the earliest to the present. Particular attention should be paid to the tombs of the Opalińsk family, discovered in 1991 in the crypt of the church of St. Bernard.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.