Monday, November 10, 2008

Westminster Cathedral

Although I had heard of Westminster Abbey before I came to London, I did not know there was another "Westminster" until recently. Westminster Cathedral surprised me from the moment I saw it. It is not the classical, grand, traditional architecture that I have come to expect from England. Rather, it is a suprising, and beautiful, statement from the Catholics: "We're back and we are here to stay."
The interior was even more interesting than the outside. Construction for the cathedral was begun in 1895 and the building was opened for worship in 1903, a new building for England's standards. Although the interior of the building is now full of scaffolding, I found the design quite interesting. The ceiling, at least the part of it that I could see in the side aisles, is built with an extremely dark brick, gray . . . almost black. However, as you approach different chapels they will be filled with color and amazing mosaics reflecting the theme of the room. One example of this was the Chapel of St. Patrick and the Saints of Ireland which was filled with green tinted windows, green marble, mosaics, etc. The whole cathedral has been designed in such a way that your eyes are only drawn to the images and objects that are supposed to be highlighted. There will be darkness up above and then your attention is drawn to colorful spiral pillars and paintings and mosaics. The cathedral was unlike anything I have ever seen before and I would recommend a visit to anyone visiting London.

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