Poeke Castle was built in 1875 to the site of older castle. Standing in 56 hectares (140 acres) of park, it is surrounded by water and is accessible through bridges at the front and rear of the building.
It is unknown when the first fortification was constructed at Poeke, but references to it appear from 1139 onwards. The castle played a prominent role during the conflict between Count Louis II of Flanders and the city of Ghent in 1382. In the same year Eulaard II of Poeke died at the battle of Beverhoutsveld when he attempted to stop the Ghent militia, who by then had already taken his fort.
During the revolt of Ghent in 1452 against Philip the Good, the castle was taken by the Ghent militia. On 5 July 1452 Philip retook it, and had the Ghent militia present executed and the castle destroyed. The rebuilding most likely took over a century. After the death of Jan III of Poeke in 1563, the lordship became the possession of the de Mastaing family, distant relatives of the lords of Poeke. Jean de Jauche, lord of Mastaing, sold the lordship in 1588 to Philibert Delrye. His son Christoffel Delrye sold the lordship in 1597 to Jean de Preudhomme of Lille.
Markus-Antonius de Preudhomme d'Hailly carried out rebuilding activities from 1658 to 1664, and in 1671. Whether these activities were effective is unknown, as sources from this period are lacking. Later, Charles Florent Idesbald de Preudhomme d'Hailly carried out significant work on the castle between 1743 and 1752.
In 1872, Baron Victor Pycke de Peteghem (1835–1875), from Oudenaarde, bought the estates. He immediately initiated rebuilding works that lasted until 1875. The third storey was integrated into a higher roof, and the interior and the gardens were renovated. There remain hardly any elements dating from before 1872. Additionally, the French garden was turned into an English garden.
The Baron's last descendant, burgemeester and Baroness Ines Pycke de Peteghem, was the last resident and owner of the castle. In her will she bequeathed the entire estate to the National Work of Catholic School Colonies), who came into possession of it after her death in 1955. In 1977 the castle and its 56 ha park became the property of the municipality of Aalter, which now uses it for cultural meetings and festivities. It was used as a location for filming interior and exterior scenes for the 2012 BBC/HBO production of Parade's End.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.