.All Trips / Europe / Italy

Catania’s Great Cathedral, Sicily

00 Catania Cathedral (4)

Catania Cathedral faces the city’s main square, and is part of a UNESCO World Heritage site.
As you stand in Catania’s main square and look at the exterior of the cathedral, you’ll be impressed by its beautiful Baroque features.  The many lovely marble figures decorating the exterior and grounds of the building add to its uniqueness.  It’s easy to see why the cathedral is one of Catania’s most popular buildings — both during daylight hours and at night.
Catania Cathedral is also known as Saint Agatha Cathedral in honor of a young Christian martyr named Agatha who was killed at this site in the third century.  Agatha was said to have been a beautiful and pious young girl born into a good family.  …

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.All Trips / Europe / Sweden

A Visit to the Stockholm Cathedral

Storkyrkn 01

Stockholm has a fascinating medieval Cathedral known as Storykyrkn (the great church), which is dedicated to St. Nicholas.  It was built in 1279 on the highest hill in the old city, on an island called Stadsholmen.  Originally Catholic, the Cathedral has since 1527 been a Lutheran church.  It’s located next to the Royal Castle in Stockholm’s old town (Gamla Stan) and has born witness to many of the highlights of Swedish history.  It’s still an active church, with religious services and concerts, and places for meditation and prayer.  The wedding of  Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel took place here in 2010, as did her parent’s wedding in 1976….

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.All Trips / Europe / Luxembourg

Luxembourg City’s Notre-Dame Cathedral

00 Notre-Dame Cathedral, Luxembourg

It was a cold rainy spring day when we visited Luxembourg City, admiring it’s tremendous ramparts and fortified walls and enjoying its historic charm. During our wandering, we came across a rather large church and as we were wet and cold, thought it might be a good opportunity to go inside, look around some, and dry out a bit.
There is a lovely statue of Virgin and Child positioned between the doors which you’ll see as you enter the cathedral, a statue which had a “newish” feel to it, although I’m not certain when it was crafted.

Lion Fountain outside the Notre-Dame Cathedral, Luxembourg

Lion Fountain outside the Notre-Dame Cathedral, Luxembourg


This was the Notre-Dame Cathedral (also called the Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin), which was built between 1613 – 1621 by the Jesuits as the …

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.All Trips / Europe / Spain

Barcelona’s Other Cathedral

11 Barcelona Cathedral (29)

If you’re in Barcelona, then you absolutely MUST visit the still unfinished Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Gaudi’s masterpiece.  It’s a church unlike any other and must be experienced in person.  But if you have time, then by all means you should also visit the historic and beautiful Barcelona Cathedral.  It’s also a busy place, with many people waiting in line to enter.

Main entrance to the Barcelona Cathedral

Main entrance to the Barcelona Cathedral

Barcelona Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, is a lovely Gothic construction. The site where the Cathedral currently sits has been home to various Christian temples dating to the fourth century.  Construction of the Cathedral you visit today began in 13th century and it was mostly completed by the 15th century.  …

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.All Trips / Europe / Italy

Doors of Milan’s Duomo

06 Doors of the Duomo

Construction of Milan’s great Cathedral (Duomo) began in the late 14th century and continued for half a millennium.  One of the last details to be completed were the main central entry doors, which date to the late 1800s. 

The church is lovely and its grand entry doors fit well with the overall opulence of the structure.  They are often admired, but only rarely opened.  These doors were crafted between 1894-1908 by Italian sculptor Ludovico Pogliaghi, themed on “stories from the life of Mary”.  Here are some of the features and panels which caught my eye.

The doors are busy and it’s easy to overlook the many exquisitely detailed panels in it. including scenes of Jesus’ life and death, as well as those …

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.All Trips / Europe / Spain

Granada’s Other Great Attraction — a Visit to the Granada Cathedral

06 Granada Cathedral (9)

Most visitors to Granada come to explore the fascinating and beautiful Alhambra, with good justification, but you shouldn’t skip the chance to stop by Granada’s Cathedral as well.  In fact, it’s most pleasant to walk through the relatively compact historic core of Granada.

After the expulsion of the Moors from Granada and take-over by Spanish Christian forces, it makes sense that a new Cathedral was called for, but that did not happen right away.  The war had been very expensive and other conflicts were diverting the monarch’s monies away from Granada.

View of Granada Cathedral from the Alhambra

It was not until 1523 (31 years after the conquest) that construction on the Cathedral began atop the site of a mosque.  The project was not finished for 181 years (in …

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“Pic of the Week”, April 20, 2018: Views of Seville

07 Seville views

For over 800 years the tower of Seville’s magnificent cathedral (the Giralda) stood as the tallest structure in the city, built at 103 m.  Completed in 1195, it was originally the minaret of the Aljama mosque before it became the bell tower of a Christian Church.  The structure took 12 years to build.

The name Giralda means “she who turns” after the weather vane on top of the tower.  The figure on the weather vane, called El Giraldillo, represents faith.

The Giralda, originally used for calling faithful Muslims to prayer and as an observatory,  was highly valued by the Moors.  There were plans to destroy it before the Christian conquest of the city in 1248, but a threat by King Alfonso X …

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.All Trips / Europe / Spain

Seville’s Awesome Cathedral!

04 Seville Cathedral

Seville’s cathedral, Santa Maria de la Sede, is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  The cathedral was built in the 15th century (1401 to 1506 A.D.) on the site of the 12th century Aljama mosque.  Portions of the mosque survive within the Cathedral’s structure, most notably the belltower known as Giralda.

Seville’s Cathedral is very popular with visitors and unless you arrive early or late, you’ll likely have to wait in line to purchase your ticket.  It’s one of the most magnificent churches I’ve ever seen, and I found it well worth the wait and price of admission.  While you wait in line you’ll have time to study and enjoy some of the beautiful craftsmanship adorning the …

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