Cesis Medieval Castle

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The medieval castle in Cesis dates back to the 13th century when the ancient hillfort was home to the Livonian Brothers of Sword. Constructed of dolostone, the castle suffered serious damage during the Livonian Wars. The castle was besieged by Russians in 1577 during which time the western part of the castle was blown up.

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Surrounded by a moat on its south side, the castle was naturally protected by the steep slopes formed by the Gauja River valley. The fortifications have undergone a series of rebuilds and expansion over the course of its history with most of the surviving structure dating to the late 15th and early 16th centuries.

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The rounded tower dates to the latter half of the 15th century. Three of five such towers survive today with the loss of a tower in both the north and south corners. The castle has been undergoing restoration since 1952.

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A surviving corner tower of two stages adorned with hanging arches

Berlin: Berliner Dom

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Located on Museum Island is the Berliner Dom – Berlin Cathedral Church. The largest church in Berlin, the Dom we see today was completed in 1905 and was designed by the German architect Julius Karl Raschdorff.

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The building features four corner towers and is both Baroque and Renaissance in its architectural style. Huge corinthian pilasters dominate the entrance facade (above left) and sculpted cherubs adorn the roof (above right).

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The monumental pipe organ was built by the Prussian Wilhelm Carl Friedrich Sauer.

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The Hozenzollern Crypt has tombs dating back to the 16th century. The crypt is the final resting place for several Kings of Prussia with over ninety sarcophagi and tombs of members of the house of Hohenzollern.

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Barrow in Furness: Furness Abbey

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Furness Abbey was founded in 1127 by monks belonging to the Savigniac Order. The Savigniac Order was part of the great monastic reform movement which spread throughout Europe during the 12th century. Savigniac abbeys followed the Benedictine layout and were self contained complexes for self sufficient communities. The church at Furness had an open plan with side chapels accessed through arches within the presbytery walls. Excavations at Furness have revealed the 900 year old foundations of the Savigniac presbytery and confirm that the east end was apsidal, which was normal for Savigniac church architecture.

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Constructed of red sandstone, the abbey became part of the Cistercian Order in 1147. The Cistercian Order was the monastic powerhouse of the Middle Ages and while both orders shared similar spiritual ideals, the Cistercians were more austere which led to major architectural differences. The Cistercians demolished most of the east end of the church including the transepts and presbytery rebuilding it in a much plainer style.

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The church was rebuilt with Early Gothic style pointed arches and each of the transepts having three chapels. The church decoration was sparse in comparison with the richly decorative Savigniac architecture. The remains of the abbey include the east end and west tower of the church, cloister buildings and ornately decorated chapter house. Furness Abbey is Grade I Listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

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