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Moscow, Moskva, Russia
July 18, 2010
February 6, 2005
Erected in the 13th century by Jaume the First, its construction extended over 400 years, and in some ways, it is still incomplete if one takes into account the unfinished bell tower. The lengthy construction explains its mix of architectural styles: Renaissance, neo-Gothic, and Gothic. It was completed in 1601. Following reconstruction (fter an 1851 earthquake damaged the west portion of the building), many disparaged the refurbished building because it did not blend with the original design.
Before entering the cathedral, walk around the outside—its sheer size astounds. Enter by the small door opposite the palace. First, you will probably visit the treasury museum in the two small rooms. Most notable are the richly wrought reliquaries made from Inca gold. One of the crosses is purported to hold a relic of the cross. Also stunning are two baroque candelabras made from solid silver (circa 1700), each candelabrum with arms—one for each day.
After the museum, you will enter the west doorway, and from here the full splendor of the slender soaring columns, naves, and 44-meter-high vaults is revealed. They are in perfect harmony with the space, and the impression they produce at any hour—but especially at twilight—is one of intense amazement. Gaudi’s great rose window (said to be the largest in the world) and two smaller windows filter sunlight in colors of red, blue, and green, plus the addition of 35 other, smaller stained-glass windows positioned above the naves, make this interior magical as the light bounces off and around the columns.
Another must-see is Gaudi’s enormous baldachin over the altar. It is fashioned from wrought iron, cork, cardboard, and brocade, symbolizing the crown of thorns. The baldachin remains unfinished, but it is stunning.
The Trinity Chapel behind the altar contains the tombs of the Kings of Mallorca. Check out the 15th-century carvings that adorn the choir stalls and visit the lovely chapels. Take note also of the exquisite doors. At the main west entrance, the statue of the virgin is surrounded by symbols of the sun and moon, a palm tree, and a house with a tree-embellished courtyard. The palm is traditionally a symbol of welcome.
There is so much to see in this church. Guides are available, plus you can rent tour tapes. I would recommend a full morning to get the best out of your visit.
April-October: Monday-Friday 10am-5pm
November-March: Monday-Friday 10am-3pm, closed Sunday except for Mass Admission €3
From journal Mallorca: Spain’s Treasure Island
July 26, 2003
In order to visit the cathedral, you enter through a side door, and come into the former Treasury, today a two-room church museum with wonderful silverworks. Large baroque candelabras made of silver and weighing 250 kilo each are really impressive. From here visitors head for the west portal and gaze down the long nave.
Light pours in through the huge rose window,12m across and studded with 1,236 pieces of stained glass. The vast interior is striking for its harmonious proportions. The columns are ringed with wrought-iron candelabra by Gaudi; his most controversial addition is the unfinished Crown of Thorns, fashioned from cardboard and cork and suspended above the altar. Behind it, you will see 110 walnut choir-stalls sculpted in flaming Gothic style.
From journal Palma , the beautiful capital of the Balearics