Monday, January 20, 2014

on broad, stone shoulders

The grand cathedral of Sevilla, the Catedral de Santa María de la Sede, its construction on top of a former mosque spanning from 1402 to 1517. Holding the (still disputed) remains of 'The illustrious and excellent man, Don Colon, Admiral of the Ocean Sea'. Local legend says that members of the cathedral chapter proclaimed, 'Let us build a church so beautiful and so great that those who see it built will think we were mad'. And mad they were. Travelling around Europe jades you in all its cathedrals and basilicas and chapels, but this is really impressive. Epic, even. Puts the fear and awe of god in you, whether you're a believer or not. From the massive pillars to the naves, to the ornate carvings and of course, the incredible Giralda ... simply an amazing testament to faith, perseverance, commitment, and purpose. As I climbed up the Giralda, the former minaret of the mosque that stood here until Muslim rule, I kept thinking those words. Sure, business school makes you a bit cynical (ie. yet another example of the power and influence, both financial and political, of the Catholic Church), but there's also vision here. There's artistry and craftsmanship. It has endured the test of time. The gardens were beautiful; I was especially interested in the stone tiles built around the orange trees. And of all the views of the cathedral, my favourite was at night, when it's lit up. Against a starry night, moon bright and shimmering ... the facade indeed takes on an ethereal glow.

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