Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #35: Architecture

After some close-ups of architecture last week, let’s take a step back.

The cathedral in Palma de Mallorca, called La Seu there, is a classic example of Gothic ecclesiastical architecture.  It was begun in 1229 and completed in 1601.  The interior shows the expected grand nave, pointed arches, and rose window…with a few surprises.

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Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí helped redesign some of the interior in the early 20th century.  Over the altar is a canopy reminiscent of the one at Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

You can find more architecture at the original Lens-Artist challenge.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale

From Cashel, Co Tipperary.

The Rock of Cashel is always an impressive and beautiful sight from any angle.  But standing among the graves, looking up at the round tower that nearly blocks the sun, you can really get a sense of the scale of the place.

And not only in size, but also in history, too: the round tower and several other parts of the structure date from the 1100s.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale

Weekly Photo Challenge: Narrow

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From Inishmore, Aran Islands.

Some of the ruins from the Seven Churches site, which actually only has two churches, as well as several other buildings and a graveyard.  The ruins probably date from the 8th-15th centuries and were a Roman pilgrimage site.  The yard contains the medieval graves of saints as well as more modern ones of local residents.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Narrow

La Sagrada Familia

I’ve been wanting to write a little about some of things I saw in Europe last month, so I’ll start with my favorite site of the whole trip: La Sagrada Familia basilica in Barcelona, Spain. I have seen a lot of European churches, but I had never seen anything like this.  I was totally blown away.  This was the most beautiful, inspiring church I have ever seen.  (Even more so than St. Peter’s in Rome, which I also saw on this trip.)  And it’s not even done yet!  The church has been under construction for over a century and will not be complete for at least another 15 years or so. The church has a true Gothic basis, building off the great Gothic churches of Spain, but it is buried under the layers of Modernisme style details.  I was not expecting to love this church; I had thought it looked weird.  Strange shapes, too many things going on, etc. What changed my mind?  In a word: feeling. Almost as soon as I entered the site, an incredible feeling came over me.  It was in parts awe, peace, joy…really, these words are insufficient.  The shadows on Jesus’s face as he knows he is about to die.  The ethereal light filtering down through a forest canopy, like the primordial garden of Eden.  The intricate glory of Mary’s assumption.  I did not see the scriptures in Gaudí’s work–I felt them.  Here was a man who took his talents and worldview and dedicated their beauty to God.  If that’s not inspiring and fitting for a church, I don’t know what is.