Gothic clock on the ceiling of Sint Laurenskerk in Alkmaar

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

Gothic clock on the ceiling of Sint Laurenskerk (St. Lawrence church) in Alkmaar, Netherlands.

Alkmaar is a municipality and a city in the Netherlands, in the province of North Holland. Alkmaar is well known for its traditional cheese market.

Grote or Sint-Laurenskerk (English: Great, or St. Lawrence church) is a landmark Protestant church in Alkmaar, Netherlands. The building is located on the Koorstraat, named for its choir. The two organs are world-famous.

The Grote Kerk (1470-1498), dedicated to St Lawrence, is a handsome building and contains the tomb of Floris V, Count of Holland (d. 1296), a brass of 1546, and some paintings (1507). Anna Visscher is buried in this church. The church was built by Anthonius Keldermans (c. 1440-1512), from a church building family from Mechelen.

The earliest mention of the name Alkmaar is in a 10th-century document. As the village grew into a town, it was granted city rights in 1254. The oldest part of Alkmaar lies on an ancient sand bank that afforded some protection from inundation during medieval times. Even so, it is only a couple of metres above the surrounding region, which consists of some of the oldest polders in existence.

In 1573 the city underwent a siege by Spanish forces under the leadership of Don Fadrique, son of the Duke of Alva. The citizens sent urgent messages for help to the Prince of Orange; he responded by promising to open the floodgates of the dykes and flood the region if the need arose, which despite the protestations of the peasantry, fearful for their harvest, he proceeded to do. Some of his dispatches fell into the hands of Don Fadrique, and, with the waters beginning to rise, the Spaniards raised the siege and fled. It was a turning point in the Eighty Years War and gave rise to the expression Bij Alkmaar begint de victorie (“Victory begins at Alkmaar”). The event is still celebrated every year in Alkmaar on 8 October, the day the siege ended.

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Apollo Room Ceiling In The Dublin Castle

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

The Apollo Room Ceiling Inside The Dublin Castle Dating From 1746. Dublin, Ireland.

Dublin Castle (Irish: Caislean Bhaile Atha Cliath) off Dame Street, Dublin, Ireland, was until 1922 the seat of the United Kingdom government’s administration in Ireland, and is now a major Irish government complex. Most of it dates from the 18th century, though a castle has stood on the site since the days of King John, the first Lord of Ireland. The Castle served as the seat of English, then later British government of Ireland under the Lordship of Ireland (1171-1541), the Kingdom of Ireland (1541-1800), and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1800-1922).

The State Apartments, located in the southern range of buildings of the Upper Yard, contain the rooms formerly used by the Lord Lieutenant for personal accommodation and public entertaining during the Castle Season. Today these richly decorated rooms are used by the Irish Government for official engagements including policy launches, hosting of State Visit ceremonial, and the inauguration of the President every seven years. The principal rooms of the State Apartments include: Saint Patrick’s Hall, Throne Room, State Drawing Room, State Dining Room, State Bedrooms, State Corridor.

Fire damaged the State Drawing and Ante Drawing Rooms in the south-east corner of the State Apartments in 1941. The adjoining cross block had been divided between offices of the Chief Secretary and the Viceroy. The Council Chamber, which was used for swearing in new Viceroys and by the Privy Council, lay between them, over the archway. It had structural weaknesses and was completely rebuilt in 1962. Works in the adjoining State Drawing Room area were completed in 1968 and the Apollo Room now contains the ornate plaster ceiling and fireplace of the demolished Georgian, Tracton House.

Dublin Castle has appeared in numerous films including Barry Lyndon, Michael Collins, Becoming Jane and The Medallion, as well as the television series The Tudors, where it doubles as the Vatican in the pilot.

Dublin Castle hosts the Heineken Green Energy festival each May bank holiday weekend. Part of Dublin Castle appears on the cover of the Jandek album Khartoum Variations.

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