The German city of Koln or Cologne is just a short train trip from Papenburg, where we were staying. A city renowned for it’s Eau de Cologne and it’s imposing Cathedral. Kolner Dom or Cologne Cathedral is the third largest church and the tallest cathedral in the world.
During WWII, Cologne lost 93% of it’s population, mostly due to evacuation. Most of the thousand year old city center was destroyed by allied bombs. Despite recieving 14 hits from the bombing, the Cathedral still stood among the desolate landscape. There is a legend that the Cathedral was such a doo landmark for the BRitish and American bombers that they secretly conspired to not destroy it. The repairs were finished in 1956, but the Cathedral is in a constant state of repair.
The Cathedral’s sandstone facade gets it’s grey appearance from exposure to acid rains. Among the saints and apostles covering the outside are also gargoyles, grotesques. Out of sight on the Cathedral’s roof are statues of John F. Kennedy, Nikita Khrushchev, Charles de Gaulle, a buxom Tanzmariechen, one of the high-kicking women dancers at Carnival parties, a local boxer, a handful of soccer players and the billy goat mascot of the FCKoln. The goat is named Hennes and Hennes IX is the latest incarnation. In 2018 a small gargoyle of Pope Francis was added very quietly. It took the locals a week to spot him.
The medieval market place in Bremen features many old and interesting buildings. In addition to the Rathaus, The Cathedral of St. Peter has 1200 years of history. Among it’s many treasures are the remains of the old choir stalls built in 1630. The oldest portion of the cathedral dates bate to the 11th century.
Stavanger Cathedral is the oldest church in Norway that is still in use. Construction began on the church in 1123 by a Benedictine Monk named Bishop Reginald from Winchester in England.
In medieval times the church was quite different than it is today. Around the church interior were different altars dedicated to different saints. Daily masses were held around these altars. The St. Swithun relic, an arm bone from an English bishop could be found in the choir. The cathedral also had several relics during this time, these included a cloth with Jesus’ blood, a piece of Jesus’ cross and other relics connected to different saints.
New lighting for the cathedral was installed in the 1920’s. Emanuel Vigeland designed six chandeliers in the nave and eight lamps on the side walls. The lamps were designed with an angel figurine that holds a hanging lamp.The chandeliers look like thorn bushes and vines.
Faces in the Medieval portion of the church reflect the Norse heritage of the craftsmen.The ornate pulpit was a gift from the feudal overlord Henrik Below, in 1658, created by Scottish sculptor Andrew (Anders) Smith. As one of the biggest pieces in Norwegian baroque style the pulpit is an example of cartilage baroque. The base of the pulpit is the biblical character of Samson facing down a lion.
The various carvings display stories of the bible starting with the Garden of Eden towards the bottom and ending with a triumphant Jesus at the top.Since many people at the time couldn’t read, the carvings were used to tell the tales.Five large and elaborately carved memorial plaques are epitaphs for known men in the community. Their hanging in the cathedral brought honor to their families. Many rich and powerful families wanted to mark their position and make their presence known within the church. These families often received preferred seats in the front rows. This practice was popular in the 1600 and 1700’s.