This week’s travel theme at Where’s My Backpack is Handmade. Your first train of thought probably goes to handcrafted goods, perhaps ceramics or handpainted items, exquisite jewellry, woolen knitted items or other fabric creations. I admit my first instinct was to post a few photos of markets where you can get locally made items. Then, as I was browsing my photos, I came upon my collections of two very different types of things though related in one aspect.
I remember the first time I went into a cathedral. St. Paul’s in London was my first, and then to Salisbury Cathedral after that. Besides being cathdrals, though built in different eras, they have something else in common. They were built by hand. The stone was cut by hand. The most advanced technology for putting them together was rope and pulley, scaffolding and sweat. Both of these buildings and many other medieval cathedrals and churches that I’ve visited amaze me. They are decorated with hand carving, gilding and exquisite stained glass. The size of the buildings, the soaring towers and spires, and the technology invented to keep them up is astonishing.
Every cathedral and basilica that I’ve visited has a different feel. While almost all of them are very nice in side, some have left me underwhelmed and others have left me with a real connection. The one in Glasgow is one of my favourites. It’s not really very big compared to many of the others but it has a very inviting interior. The photos below of Canterbury cathedral really did inspire awe from the soaring vaulted ceilings to the dark, blue lit chapel in the back. All built by hand.
I really don’t think something like this could be built today. The cost alone would be prohibitive and that’s what seems to matter these days. These buildings took generations to complete. Lives were lost. Money was found from somewhere. Sometimes they were left unfinished until more could be found but eventually they stood whole.
I’ve only really had the opportunity to visit Christian churches and cathdrals but I have seen photos of buildings like Istanbul’s Blue Mosque and others and I would dearly love to see them some day.
St. Augustine’s Chair, Canterbury Cathedral