Saint-Omer Cathedral is a Roman Catholic former cathedral, a minor basilica. It was formerly the seat of the Bishop of Saint-Omer, but the see was not restored after the French Revolution, being instead absorbed into the Diocese of Arras under the Concordat of 1801. The church is still commonly referred to as the 'cathedral' however.
The cathedral is an excellent example of the flamboyant style of gothic architecture of the 13th, 14th and early 15th centuries. The substantial, square tower (15th-16th century) is reminiscent of perpendicular gothic towers in England, such was the cross-over of architectural styles in the period. A 12th century octagonal tower also survives from an earlier building. Despite the length it took to construct, the overall effect is remarkably harmonious and uniform, in part because of the use of the distinctive local white limestone.
The church is also well-known for its sculpture and furnishings. The highlight is the "Descent from the Cross" by Rubens, but it also has a working astrological clock from 1558, some stained glass from the 15th century, the tomb effigy of Saint Omer himself (13th century) and interestingly, a statue of God from Therouanne, dated to around the 13th century: his strange proportions reflect the original intention to place it 60ft from the ground. Both south and west doors have interesting decorative sculptures, including a 13th century Doom on the south door.References:
Hluboká Castle (Schloss Frauenberg) is considered one of the most beautiful castles in the Czech Republic. In the second half of the 13th century, a Gothic castle was built at the site. During its history, the castle was rebuilt several times. It was first expanded during the Renaissance period, then rebuilt into a Baroque castle at the order of Adam Franz von Schwarzenberg in the beginning of the 18th century. It reached its current appearance during the 19th century, when Johann Adolf II von Schwarzenberg ordered the reconstruction of the castle in the romantic style of England's Windsor Castle.
The Schwarzenbergs lived in Hluboká until the end of 1939, when the last owner (Adolph Schwarzenberg) emigrated overseas to escape from the Nazis. The Schwarzenbergs lost all of their Czech property through a special legislative Act, the Lex Schwarzenberg, in 1947.
The original royal castle of Přemysl Otakar II from the second half of the 13th century was rebuilt at the end of the 16th century by the Lords of Hradec. It received its present appearance under Count Jan Adam of Schwarzenberg. According to the English Windsor example, architects Franz Beer and F. Deworetzky built a Romantic Neo-Gothic chateau, surrounded by a 1.9 square kilometres English park here in the years 1841 to 1871. In 1940, the castle was seized from the last owner, Adolph Schwarzenberg by the Gestapo and confiscated by the government of Czechoslovakia after the end of World War II. The castle is open to public. There is a winter garden and riding-hall where the Southern Bohemian gallery exhibitions have been housed since 1956.