Wherever I go, churches are on the top of my to-see list. They offer up beauty (free), in peaceful and spirital surroundings. Usually there is silence.
I am not incognizant that these temples to God were built by the David Kochs of the medieval world on the backs of the anguished. But the politics and sociology must be weighed alongside the art.
Yes, the subject matter is one note: the life of Jesus Christ, his journey from birth to death, his apostles and the prophets, sinners and saints that bring life to the Old and New Testaments. But they have been painted and sculpted by the greatest artists of all time — Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Donatello. And they are in situ, placed in niches and on walls in the exact same space and place as when made and hung.
Churches are also more than repositories of religious history. The floors, the pews. The altars and flying buttresses. The steeples. The stained glass windows. The gargoyles tell us what the world used to be like; what people used to believe. And hat they were afraid of, what they strived for, and it’s not far from what we seek today.
The Church was also the social media center from let’s say the 13th century through to the 19th century. Whatever. There is always somehting to look at, and always more to see. These are some of the churches I visited when I was in Paris last October:
Ste. Suplice Church on Rue Ste. Surplice, 6th arrondisement.
Purpose: To transport the king and his worldly possessions across the heavens in his afterlife.
Dimensions: 143 feet long and 19.5 feet wide.
Discovered: In 1954 at the foot of the Great Pyramid in Giza. It was broken into 1224 carefully laid out pieces that made it possible to be reassembled into a fully intact ship.
Material: Lebanon cedar
Prediction: If placed in water, it could sail today.
Location: The Solar Boat Museum in Giza, Egypt.