No matter how much I like the view of gorgeous 19th century town houses or ancient Roman ruins, my favorite buildings of all times will always be the grand Gothic churches. No other buildings make you feel that small and insignificant, but at same time encase you with such an atmosphere of spirituality and serenity.
Every time I enter a Gothic cathedral it gives me goosebumps. I feel overwhelmed and weakened, my mind is racing as I pass through 800-year-old gates. Although I theoretically know how cathedrals were built, I just can’t fully grasp how they could build this high, this long-lasting, this detailed in the Middle Ages. Without technology, without proper knowledge of statics. And still, these churches lasted longer than most modern buildings. They were built for eternity.
One of my favorite Gothic churches is the cathedral of Strasbourg, la Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Strasbourg. I admire it partly because it has everything I love about a Gothic church, partly because it’s entirely different from a stereotypical Gothic church, since it has unique elements like the renowned Astronomical Clock.
Like many churches in the Middle Ages the building of the cathedral of Strasbourg lasted for centuries: That’s why the oldest part of the cathedral was still build in Romanesque style in the 12th century, whereas the rest of the church is purest Gothic. The single Gothic tower, which was finished in the 15th century, was even the tallest building worldwide until the 19th century.
I could write a novel about the delicate 13th century Mary sculptures on the famous Southern Portal (in fact, I once wrote a 20+ pages paper about just that) or about the Byzantine elements in the Romanesque choir apse… but I hope the pictures speak for themselves and explain why I love this cathedral so much: It is beautifully lit, it has a divine atmosphere and an even a little mystical aura.
How do you feel when you enter a Gothic cathedral?
I hope you noticed that this website underwent some major changes. Steffen (my favorite travel partner, html-genius and semi-professional WordPress-whisperer) has pulled several overnighters to create this beauty of a travel blog. Sateless Suitcase is now a lot easier to navigate as I have two new archive pages, “Destinations” and “Art History”, proper breadcrumb navigation and a lot of other fancy details. I’m super thankful for Steffen’s amazing work and I’m psyched with the results! I hope you love the new design too — let us know what you think!