WPC: Gothic on a GRAND scale.

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg must surely qualify as ‘Grand’. It’s the tallest still-standing structure built entirely in the Middle Ages, and is considered to be one of the finest examples of high/late Gothic architecture. (As always, you can get the bigger picture by clicking on each photo.) Its stunning pink sandstone facade is unique, and quite breathtaking.

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The famous west front entrance is decorated with thousands of figures.

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The beautiful Rose window is quite stunning from the outside,

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but from inside the cathedral, it is absolutely magnificent.

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There are so many gorgeous stained glass windows.

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The total inside length is 103 metres, and it seems a long way down to the altar at the front.

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The magnificent pulpit is decorated with numerous statuettes which were sculpted by Hans Hammer in 1485,

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I was particularly fascinated by the 14th century beautifully ornate, suspended pipe organ, which had no visible way of getting to it,

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so unfortunately I was unable to go up there and give it a blast.

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In the south transept, there is an 18 metre high, astronomical clock, one of the largest in the world. The present clock, which is said to be extraordinarily accurate, was completed in 1843. It has sculpted figurines, which move around at different hours of the day. The clock does far more than tell the time, it also indicates solar time, with each day of the week being represented by a god of mythology. It also shows the month, the year, and the appropriate sign of the zodiac, as well as the phase of the moon and the position of several planets.

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If one happens to be there at half past midday, one can see all these automatons go into operation, and the figurines start doing their thing. At the top, you can see the representation of Christ, and underneath is Death himself.Β  Figurines representing the different stages of life, a child, a teenager, an adult and an old man, all pass in front ofΒ  Death. Above this, the apostles walk before Christ, accompanied by the sound of beating wings and the crowing of a rooster.

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Just in front of the clock stands the marvellously decorated Pillar of Angels, representing the Last Judgement.

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This magnificently grand edifice, draws in over two million visitors every year. It was once described by Victor Hugo, as “a gigantic and delicate marvel,”Β  and by Goethe as ” a sublimely towering, wide-spreading tree of God,” and is visible for miles around, even from as far away as the Black Forest on the other side of the Rhine.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed your grand tour today. To see more entries for the Weekly Photo Challenge, just click on the badge below.

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147 comments on “WPC: Gothic on a GRAND scale.

  1. What an incredible looking cathedral, and one I hadn’t really heard of, so thanks for that πŸ™‚
    It’s funny looking at the photos, because parts of it feel very familiar, with a rhythm and shape seen in so many European cathedrals…..it reminds me even of our own much smaller St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh…..but the details are unique, and that astronomical clock alone makes me want to visit. What an incredible thing. Great post for ‘grand’.

  2. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge ~ Grand | South of Easton

  3. Lots of exquisite details here….and those stained glass windows are masterpieces by themselves. When I was in high school in Germany, two of our teachers took us on a class trip and dragged us from church to cathedral to castles in ruins…now I’d love to do that trip over with a much more appreciative mind…

  4. What a fantastic tour you’ve taken us on round this Cathedral Sylvia . The first shot is an amazing neck craning view ! What workmanship and skills they had in those distant days .
    I think I’d like to sit near to that striking Astronomical clock during a lengthy sermon -would be sure to make the time go by trying to spot the cockerel or find my sign of the Zodiac up there ;-)…

  5. Didn’t realise you had started a new blog, so thanks for commenting on mine. Superb photos and very striking (feeble joke although not intended for clocks etc). It’s funny how these huge cathedrals are surrounded by narrow streets and tiny buildings and you turn the corner and they hit you in the eye. It’s obvious because of when they were built but that last picture reminds me of so many I have seen in Europe.

  6. This is Grand in a Grandeur way – stunning photos, love the photos of the organ and the stain glass windows. A grand post, Sylvia. I’m not a person that visit churches while being a tourist, think I been inside 4 churches in total – so this a really interesting post for me. Thanks for sharing

  7. Wow! How beautiful! The detail is incredible. I am always amazed by places like this. Makes my heart jump. Love it. And I really wish you could have given that organ a blast. Lol.

  8. le tue foto hanno reso benissimo la grandiosa magnificenza della Cattedrale, sai io soffro di una piccola syndrome di Stendhal e quando osservo qualcosa di artistico che mi emoziona molto mi gira la testa e devo mettermi seduta, mi capita spessom quando guardo il Duomo di Firenze e mi capitΓ² anche qui e a Reims, le tue splendide foto me lo hanno ricordato
    un grande abbraccio, cara
    your photos have made fine the magnificence of the Cathedral, you know I suffer from a small Stendhal’s syndrome and when I observe something that excites me very artistic I turn your head and I have to get a seat, I spessom when I look at the Duomo in Florence and I happened here and at Reims, your splendid photos reminded me
    a big hug, dear

      • Ah, I did have one….it is about you, my dear friend. Every time I come to your blog, I think of Martha Graham’s quote – you exemplify these words because you have not blocked your creative spirit. It lives in every one of your posts/comments.

        β€œThere is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”

  9. Gorgeous photos! I love old European cathedrals my favorite being the Notre Dame. Have you ever read Pillars of the Earth? Fascinating story about cathedral building and 1000 pages long! I loved it.

  10. So many topics, so many stories in one building.
    Special thanks for noticing the great astronomical clock, actually a calendar engine.
    The last detail showing Christ at the top and the death figure on lower level, is extremeely interesting because we don’t see a death personification (with a scythe!) before the early 15th century (the death dances), I have to check it. This could be an illustration for the Easter sequence “Victimae paschali laudes”, with the stanza on Life and Death (mors et vita). I wrote recently a paper about it, so your contribution is very welcome, thanks a lot, Sylvia,

  11. Wow! – what an incredible cathedral. Beautiful rose window and organ pipes – extraordinary clock. Probably not a place I am likely to go to so thanks for sharing these images.
    Jude xx

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