Aug 7, 2009
Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Church
The Hallgrímskirkja, literally, the church of Hallgrímur, is a Lutheran parish church in Reykjavík, Iceland. At 74.5 metres (244 ft), it is the largest church in Iceland and the fourth tallest architectural structure in Iceland
The church’s unusual design is supposed to represent volcanic columns rising between the steeple tower – a reference to Iceland’s many volcanoes.
The iconic building looks like it belongs in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. Indeed, many aspects of Tolkien’s work was inspired by Norse mythologies and many of the fictional names in the book are Norse in origin, although there is no reference that Hallgrímskirkja served as a model any of the towers in the book.
It took 38 years to build the church. Construction work began in 1945 and ended in 1986
The church is also used as an observation tower. An observer can take a lift up to the viewing deck and view Reykjavík and the surrounding mountains. There is a statue of the explorer Leif Ericson in front of the church, predating its construction. It was a gift from the United States on the 1930 Althing Millennial Festival, commemorating the 1000th anniversary of Iceland’s parliament at Thingvellir in 930 AD
The Fairtale Cathedral
Las Lajas Cathedral or Las Lajas Sanctuary is a cathedral located in the southern Colombian Department of Nariño and built inside the canyon of the Guaitara River.
The architecture of this cathedral is of Gothic Revival architecture built from January 1, 1916 to August 20, 1949
The story : an Indian woman named María Mueses de Quiñones was carrying her deaf-mute daughter Rosa on her back near Las Lajas (“The Rocks”). Weary of the climb, the María sat down on a rock when Rosa spoke (for the first time) about an apparition in a cave.
Later on, a mysterious painting of the Virgin Mary carrying a baby was discovered on the wall of the cave. Supposedly, studies of the painting showed no proof of paint or pigments on the rock – instead, when a core sample was taken, it was found that the colors were impregnated in the rock itself to a depth of several feet.
Whether true or not, the legend spurred the building of a gothic church worthy of a fairy tale.
The church that resists an earthquake of magnitude 8.0
The Crystal Cathedral is a Protestant Christian megachurch in the city of Garden Grove, in Orange County, California, United States.
The prominent architect Philip Johnson designed the main sanctuary building, which was constructed using over 10,000 rectangular panes of glass and can hold 2,900 worshippers.
The rectangular panes of glass are not bolted to the structure; instead they are glued to it using a silicone-based glue. This and other measures are intended to allow the building to withstand an earthquake of magnitude 8.0
The Never-Ending Construction Church
The Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família is a massive Roman Catholic church under construction in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Construction began in 1882 and continues to this day. The temple is scheduled to open for worship by September 2010
The church’s design is rich with Christian symbolism, with façades featuring intricate details describing the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Perhaps the most awe inspiring is the eighteen towers representing the 12 Apostles, 4 Evangelists, the Virgin Mary, and a central tower – the tallest of them all – representing Christ.
The construction of the Sagrada Familia basilica started in 1882, directed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, who devoted his life to it. When people said that the construction had taken a very long time, Gaudí replied that he was building the church for God, and that his client wasn’t in a hurry. He then became known as “God’s Architect.”
In 1926, Gaudí got run over by a street car. Because of his raggedy attire and empty pockets, no one wanted to take him to the hospital. Eventually, he was taken to a pauper’s hospital where no one recognized him until his friends found him and tried to move him to another hospital. Gaudí refused, saying that he belonged with the poor, and died a few days later.
Because Gaudí refused to work with blue prints, preferring to use his imagination and memory instead, construction of La Sagrada Familia was halted after his death. Part of the church was even burnt during the Spanish Civil War. Construction of La Sagrada Familia was restarted afterwards and continues until today.
Saint Basil’s Cathedral
The Cathedral of Saint Basil the Blessedis is a multi-tented church on the Red Square in Moscow that also features distinctive onion domes. It is very often mistaken by Westerners for the Kremlin, whose buildings are in fact situated across the square from the cathedral. Arguably the most recognized building in Russia, it is an international symbol for the nation and for the city of Moscow.
The story: In the 1500s, an apprentice shoemaker/serf named Basil stole from the rich to give to the poor. He also went naked, weighed himself with chains, and rebuked Ivan the Terrible for not paying attention in church. Most of the time, admonishing anyone with name “the Terrible” wasn’t such a good idea, but apparently Ivan had a soft spot for the holy fool, as Basil was also known,and ordered a church to be built in his name after Basil died.
Ivan the Terrible lived up to his name after he supposedly blinded the architect who built the church so he would not be able to design something as beautiful afterwards.
Notre Dame de Paris, “Our Lady of Paris’ in French”, is a Gothic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France, with its main entrance to the west.
Construction of the church started in 1163, when Bishop Maurice de Sully decided to build a cathedral befitting his status as the bishop of Paris. Notre Dame was completed some 200 years later – one of the first European cathedrals to be built on a truly monumental scale.
Legend has it that when Notre Dame’s bell “Emmanuel” was recast in the 1600s, women threw their gold jewelry into the molten metal to give the bell its unique ring.
At the end of the 18th century, during the French Revolution, the church was ransacked, its treasures plundered and many of the statues of saints were beheaded. Notre Dame was dedicated to the Cult of Reason and then the Cult of the Supreme Being – for a while, it was even used as a barn!
In 1831, Notre Dame was made famous by Victor Hugo, who wrote “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” about Quasimodo, a hunchback bell ringer who fell in love with the Gypsy Esmeralda. The popularity of the book spurred a gothic revival in France and helped the restoration of the cathedral back to its original splendor.
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