Strasbourg: The Cathedral


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688Perhaps I was too cold and wet to fully appreciate the Notre Dame de Paris last December, but I have to say I still don’t find it that memorable. But the Strasbourg Cathedral, on the other hand, was more interesting and intriguing than I had expected. It’s the sixth tallest church in the world and the highest-standing, most impressive Gothic style structure that was built entirely in the Middle Ages. Since it is located in an area where France and Germany are linked in so many ways, it has been praised by many prominent figures from both countries alike. For instance, French novelist Victor Hugo described it as “a gigantic and delicate marvel,” while German writer Goethe said it was a “sublimely towering, wide-spreading tree of God.” Impressive.

The inside of the cathedral was like a shower of lights and shadows. The brights and darks were so dramatic that every little corner, sculpture and artwork stood out. And if you’ve been to a Cathedral of any city, you can probably assume how it can feel like when all the artworks and sculptures seem like they are about to bounce off the walls and ceilings. After some research, I realized this sentiment was not because the weather was so perfect or because I ate a French baguette, which was oh so good. It was because this cathedral is one of the best when it comes to Gothic Architecture.

Some characteristics on G.A., Gothic Architecture.

  • The sturdier and more decorative buttress: The buttress is the projecting support of stone or brick built against a wall, enabling the cathedral or any structure to be built higher/sturdier.
  • Higher and higher: Thanks to the buttress, Gothic structures are built higher than non-Gothics. So literally “reaching for the heavens.”
  • Pointy arches: To distribute the weight of heavier ceilings and more extravagant designs.
  • Airy interior: Exactly what I felt when I walked in. Courtesy of bigger and clearer windows and glassworks.
  • More is more: The fancier, grander, more complex, the better. Some serious artwork seen on photo #1 up there.

We were lucky enough to visit during the Illuminations of the Cathedral event, where the Cathedral is lit by colorful lights for about  20 minutes. This event is held every July as a summer festival and it was amazing. We stayed for two sessions, although we had to pull back our heads like we were watching a movie in the front row.

파리의 노틀담 성당보다는 작지만 분위기만큼은 만만치 않았던 스트라스부르크성당. 이 성당은 세계에서 6번째로 크고 건물 전체가 중세시대에 완공된 가장 높은 고딕건물. (이상하게도 성당을 다녀오면 꼭 세계에서 몇번째로 크고 오래된건지 확인하는 버릇이 생겼다.) 가장 감동적이었던 것은 성당내부: 안으로 비치는 햇살과 그림자들이 대단해서 마치 모든 장식물들과 천장이 쏟아져내리는 느낌. 그리고 특이하게도 기도할 수 있는 공간이 구석 구석에 많았다는 것. 내부에는 유명한 시계도 있다는데 움직이는 타이밍을 놓쳐서인가, 그다지 흥미롭지 않았다, 힝. 매년 7월에 진행되는 Illuminations of the Cathedral 이벤트는 대단했다. 광고만 보면 별걸 아닐거라고 생각했는데 막상 바로 앞에서 보니 마음이 흔들리는 느낌. 음악과 외부와 내부 동시에 핀조명들이 번쩍이는데 입벌리고 봤네.

알고보니 내가 감동했던 그림자들에는 다 이유가 있었다. 고딕건축물들의 특징 중 하나였음. 몇가지 알아보자면, 에헴.

  • 화려한 지지대들: 덕분에 고딕 건물들은 점점 하늘 높이 올라갈 수 있었던 것.
  • 뾰족한 아치형 장식: 더 높아 보이는 느낌.
  • 큰 창문들이 많아 내부는 환하면서도 휑-한 느낌. 깜깜하고 무서운 기운보다 뭔가 신비로운 분위기.
  • 화려함의 극치를 보여주는 장식물들. 사진 1번 참고.

Places mentioned:

All photos by rachelsanghee

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