Affleck Castle, also known as Auchenleck Castle, was built on the lands of the Auchenlecks in the 15th century. In the early 18th century it belonged to a family of Reids, who forfeited the castle in 1746 because of their activities as Jacobites. It has not been occupied since 1760, when a new mansion was built.
Affleck Castle is a well-preserved free-standing tower of four storeys and a parapeted garret. It is 18 m tall, and has thick rubble walls, with several mural rooms. A few steps down from the entrance is the basement, which is sub-divided.
The hall, which is on the first floor, has a vaulted ceiling; this supports a withdrawing room. Above the main staircase is an entresol bedroom, almost 2.1 m square, reached by an eleven-step staircase in the east wall. The stairs lead from the hall. The withdrawing room has a spy-hole into the hall below. This would have allowed all movement to the main turnpike stair to be observed. The room has window seats, wall closets, and a shafted fireplace. A step up from this room leads to a circular oratory, equipped with aumbry, piscine, holy-water stoup and stone candle-holders. This room is also vaulted. There is a bedroom in each of the upper floors.
A projection by the door, with a square caphouse, houses the stair. There is another square caphouse over the south-west angle. There are two devices for dropping missiles or liquids on attackers: one over the arched door; and the other on the west front, while the ground floor is equipped with gun loops.References:
The St Sophia's Cathedral was built between 1045-1050 inside the Novgorod Kremlin (fortress). It is one of the earliest stone structures of northern Russia. Its height is 38 m. Originally it was taller, for during the past nine centuries the lower part of the building became concealed by the two-metre thick cultural layer. The cathedral was built by Prince Vladimir, the son of Yaroslav the Wise, and until the 1130s this principal church of the city also served as the sepulchre of Novgorodian princes. For the Novgorodians, St Sophia became synonymous with their town, the symbol of civic power and independence.
The five-domed church looks simpler but no less impressive than its prototype, the thirteen-domed St Sophia of Kiev. The cathedral exterior is striking in its majesty and epic splendour evoking the memories of Novgorod's glorious past and invincible might. In the 11th century it looked more imposing than now. Its facade represented a gigantic mosaic of huge, coarsely trimmed irregular slabs of flagstone and shell rock. In some places (particularly on the apses), the wall was covered with mortar, smoothly polished, drawn up to imitate courses of brick or of whitestone slabs, and slightly coloured. As a result, the facade was not white, as it is today, but multicoloured. The play of stone, decorative painting and the building materials of various texture enhanced the impression of austere simplicity and introduced a picturesque effect.
The two-storied galleries extend along the building's southern, western and northern sides, with a stair-tower constructed at the north-eastern corner. The cathedral has three entrances - the southern, western and northern, of which the western was the main one intended for ceremonial processions. A gate standing at the entrance is known as the Sigtuna Gate (mid-12th century); according to legend, it was brought from the Swedish town of Sigtuna in 1187. The second name of the gate derives from the town of Magdeburg, where it was made. The two leaves are decorated with biblical and evangelical scenes in cast bronze relief. In the lower left corner there are portraits of the craftsmen who created this superb specimen of medieval Western European bronze-work. An inscription in Latin gives their names, Riquin and Weissmut. The small central figure - judging from an inscription in Slavonic - is a representation of the Russian master craftsman Avraam, who assembled the gate.
There is yet another bronze gate in the cathedral, called the Korsun Gate. Made in the 11th century in Chersonesos, Byzantium, it leads from the southern gallery into the Nativity Side-Chapel. Legend has it that the gate was handed over to Novgorod as a gift of Prince Yaroslav the Wise (c. 978 - 1054).
The interior of the cathedral is as majestic as its exterior. It is divided by huge piers into five aisles, three of which end in altar apses. In the south-western corner, inside the tower, there is a wide spiral in relatively small, modest buildings of the 12th - 16th centuries.