Sacred Serenity: 6 Sights Of Spiritual Awe
For sheer awe and spectacle, no building can quite rival the cathedral. These impressive structures have been a significant part of civilisation for over 2000 years. Seen generally as a symbol of the Christian faith, the term cathedral is derived from the Latin word ‘cathedra’ or ‘seat’, relating directly to the presence of a Bishop or Archbishop.
There are dozens of cathedrals all over the world and they come in all shapes, sizes and designs, all of which are magnificent. What follows is a exploration of some of the most awe-inspiring cathedrals from around Europe.
Sagrada Familia, BarcelonaProbably the most iconic structure in the whole of Spain, this cathedral in Barcelona is perhaps one of the grandest buildings still standing today. Designed by the famous architect, ‘Gaudi’ in 1882, it remains incomplete to this day. That does not stop it from routinely drawing in millions of tourists every year. Some might argue that the interior is even more impressive than the exterior, and we’d be inclined to agree!
St Basil’s Cathedral, MoscowTruly a sight to behold, one can only imagine the pride felt by the architects of St Basil’s, Barma and Postnik Yakovlev. The cathedral is located in the centre of the city and has stood there since the mid 16th century. It used to be the tallest structure in Moscow until the erection of the ‘Ivan the Great Bell Tower’. Its design is supposed to portray flames heading skywards.
Notre Dame, ParisPerhaps one of the most famous cathedrals in the world, Notre Dame holds the chair for the Archbishop of Paris. Famed for its Gothic architecture, it has been standing tall for the last 850 years despite significant damage as a result of the French Revolution. This is, of course, the place where the legendary Joan of Arc was canonized and as such has remained synonymous with her throughout the ages.
St Paul’s Cathedral, LondonThe iconic St Paul’s cathedral in the heart of London was originally dedicated to Paul the Apostle. As such it is a building that dates back to the first century. It has survived numerous bomb blasts during the many wars that Britain has been involved in, including the Blitz. This is all the more impressive considering it stands at the highest point of the nation’s capital (which was largely destroyed around it). The cathedral has played host to events such as the funeral of Winston Churchill and Lord Nelson as well as the Jubilee of Queen Victoria and the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.
Basilica di San Marco, ItalyCompleted at the beginning of the 17th century, this wonderful example of Byzantine architecture is the official church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese in Venice. The cathedral was nicknamed ‘The Church of Gold’ due to its overtly opulent presence which was a representation symbolic of Venetian power and wealth.
Mosteiro dos Jeronimos, PortugalThis is another cathedral which is arguably more impressive from the inside; upon walking through its grand doors, one is it hit by a overwhelming sense of awe. So significant is the cathedral to the city of Lisbon, it was given the honour of becoming a world heritage site in 1983. The style of the structure is referred to as ‘Manueline’, which incorporates sculptural themes and objects carved in limestone. The cathedral took over 100 years to build after work commenced in 1501.
This article was contributed by Tom, who writes on behalf of HouseTrip.com. If you wish to broaden your spiritual horizons, why not visit the stunning Sagrada Familia cathedral? For apartment rentals in Barcelona visit HouseTrip.com.