Shortlist of my favorite Sacred Architecture

Every once in a while I mentioned that I love looking at architecture. Precisely at sacred architecture aka old churches – and not only since I read Ken Follett’s “Pillars of the Earths”.

I am in awe of what mankind was capable of so many years ago when building techniques were less evolved. So much dedication, so much craftsmanship in masonry, carpentry and arts in general. Imagine you are a humble human being in the Middle Ages wandering for days to reach the big city and being greeted by a gigantic structure like that. Of course you can argue it was intimidating and forbidding but I believe it would have been amazing.

I have seen quite a few churches on my travels. Just recently I have discovered that I unconsciously created a shortlist in my mind. So for all my fellow architectural admirers here is my list of favorite sacred buildings.

St. Vitus Cathedral (metropolitní katedrála svatého Víta)

City/Country: Prague, Czech Republic
Built in: 1344-1929 taking 585 years
Measurements: 124 nave, 60 m transept, 33 inner heights,  tower heights
Architectural Style: triple-naved basilica, High Gothic
Historical importance: The church is part of the castle complex and sits on top of a hill overlooking the city. The master builder who started the construction – Matthias from Arras was a geometer and influenced the footprint of the building – a triple-naved basilica – and laid groundwork for the structure. After his passing the 23-year old master builder Peter Parler took over who was a trained sculptor and woodcarver. And this you can see in the entire church. He saw architecture as sculpture. He invented the so called Parler-vaults – double groined vaults which enabled wider ceiling width and at the same time created a net-like ornamentation. State of the art tracery and no identical window throughout the church are another pioneering feature. The St. Veits Cathedral had a high influence in the Late Gothic Architecture in all over Europe.
Fun fact 1: Due to a legal dispute over ownership only 7 people have a key to the regalia of royalty that are stored here.
Fan fact 2: The church has 7 bells – the biggest being 13,500kg – which are still being rang manually by 4 people until today.
Why I love it: This is the church where it all started. I have first seen it when I was in my early teenage years and have come back two more times to see St. Veits Cathedral. The outside with its flying buttresses is just breathtaking. And the vaulted ceilings in the inside are in no way inferior. I also like that it is located on a hill and you can actually make out the gigantic and impressive architecture from afar which is not always possible with churches that are within cities.

Unfortunately all my photos are still analoge but there are many on the web.

St. Johns Church (Johanneksenkirkka)

City/Country: Helsinki, Finland
Built in: 1888-1891 taking 3 years
Measurements:  59m length,  inner heights, 74m tower heights
Architectural Style: cross-shaped cathedral, Gothic Revival
Historical importance: It is the largest stone church in Finland by seating capacity and has very good acoustics. Located on a hilltop were there used to be the midsummer festivals. The church is – compared to others on the list – not that old. The outside is red brick and sits on a massive granite footing. The interior used to be a greenish-grey color but was changed in later renovations to a light-cream color. It was build by Adolf Emil Melander who also designed the seats, pulpit, altarpiece and font. It all has a ornamental feel to it.
Why I love it: We actually stumbled into this one and I had no idea about it beforehand. I liked it from the outside, it was already dark and snowing and it just gave off an interesting vibe. A sermon just ended and people left so we were able to have a peek inside and I was just stunned. It was a serendipitous find. Only later I learnt of its importance.

Trip to Helsinki st. Johns church

St. Mary’s Church (St. Marien)

City/Country: Lübeck, Germany
Built in: 1250-1350 taking 100 years
Measurements:  103m length, 38,5m inner heights, approx. 125m tower heights
Architectural Style: triple-naved basilica, Brick Gothic native to the baltic region
Historical importance: It is the highest brick building with the tallest brick vault ceiling in the world and the first of it’s kind. St. Marien was pathbreaking for 70 further churches in the baltic region. While on the outside its red brick shines bright the inside of the building is very calm. All was painted white and detailed floral frescos have been painted throughout the church. The church was destroyed in 1942 during a bomb raid and many of it’s artefacts and paintings burnt down. The fallen down bells have been preserved and it is humbling how they lay shattered on the floor. Immediately the church received an improvised roof that prevented further damaging and the re-building started 1947. The reconstruction has made it possible to cater to modern needs such as floor heating and more minimalist interior design. However it also removed some art historically pieces and is still controversially discussed.
Fun Fact 1: There was a scandal regarding the reconstruction of the fresco in the 1950s as one of the restaurateurs Lothar Malskat “invented” missing pieces of the frescos. After self-indictment the paintings were washed off. Günter Grass refers to this incident in his book “The Rat”.
Why I love it: The brick building style of the baltic architecture is just so unique and different. And also so impressive. I mean it is just bricks and then the ceiling is almost 40 meters high. It has a modern feel to it when entering while still holding the impressive architecture maybe even caters to it. The whitewashed walls and simple window decoration focus on the structure instead.

Cathedral of Santa María la Manor (Catedral Primada de America)

City/Country: Santo Domingo de Guzman, Dominican Republic
Built in: 1514-1541 taking 27 years
Measurements:  53m length, 3x23m wide, 16m inner heights,
Architectural Style: triple-naved hall church, Gothic (& Baroque)
Historical importance: It is the oldest church in the “New World” and (since 1990) part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site which expands around the old town of Santo Domingo. The three doored entrance is rather unique as two doors are gothic and one baroque. The cross vaulted ceiling and limestone walls are really impressive and give of a golden coloured look.
Fan Fact 1: It is said that the church was the resting place of Christopher Columbus (before moved to a site a few miles away) however there is a dispute going on with Spain who claim they have the remains.
Fun Fact 2: The 500 year old doors are opened by the same key every since.
Why I love it: When I first saw this church it really hit me were I was standing. The sky was bright blue and the limestone was contrasting against it. The building style was just so different from churches in “The Old World” and it felt somewhat surreal. As often the outside impressed me much more than the inside. However for a Catholic church it was not as overly decorated and pompous but still rather gloomy. However it was fascinating and I would visit again when being in Santo Domingo.

New Synagogue (Neue Synagoge)

City/Country: Berlin, Germany
Measurements:  29m wide (on curb view), 97 m length with 15 angle, 50m inner heights
Built in: 1859-1866 taking 6 years
Architectural Style: Moorish Revival
Historical importance: For this building renowned architect Eduard Knoblauch and Friedrich August Stüler were contracted. The oriental style with it’s gilded dome and terracotta front was unseen in Prussia. During the Pogroms Night 1938 arsonists set the synagogue on fire. Contrary to orders policeman Otto Bellgardt and superior Wilhelm Krützfeld intervened and called fire brigades argumenting it is a heritage-protected building and saved the building from burning down. Unfortunately the main synagogue was still destroyed in 1943 during British air raids. Remains have been savaged for building material and the dome had to be blown up due to safety reasons. Only in 1988 it was decided to rebuilt the facade and a few rooms behind. It now hosts a museum about Jewish life in Berlin.
“Fun Fact”: Due to the bright color of the cupola it was camouflaged during WWII to avoid falling victim to air raids.
Why I love it: For me this place feels like home and I walked by it daily. Being part of the Jewish volleyball team Makkabi allowed me access to the parts of the building which now inhabit a gym from which we could see the dome while practicing. This also had me attend service once here (and once in a Prague synagogue). Seeing the golden dome always makes me happy. It is were I went to pay me respects on November 9.

There are couple of sacred places I would have loved to see from the inside (or closer up) however I was not able to enter for not being part of the congregation or the religious faith. So if you ever made it to the following places please let me know how to get in: Dome of the Rocks, Jerusalem and Upensiki Cathedral, Helsinki. And of course there are many more I want to see.

Now please share your favorite building I need to see and put on my list.

Happy travels,

Tobia

Happiness Review & CoffeeShares

Another week in the books. Can you believe how this year has flown by? I am a bit amazed, scared, dazzled and surprised. I mean I have had so many plans and now it seems like I won’t get it all done. On the other hand so much has happen in 2018 already.

craftaliciousme seeking creative life Cologne Cathedral blue sky

Cologne & Blogst

Just last weekend was really amazing with me attending the BLOGST conference. So much energy in one room and so much motivation when coming out of it. And then it’s like a little depression when you hit your daily life and realize you need to catch your breath.
But even before I attended the conference I had a two hour window (carefully planned) to finally see the Cologne Cathedral. It was somewhat a lifelong dream and on my bucket list. I am amazed by sacred buildings and looking at the architectural structure just leaves me speechless. I managed to be there with sunset and it was just so beautiful. I can’t show you a photo with the perfect light because I just enjoyed.

Fall Foliage & Light

Speaking of light – this fall is just amazing. So many moments there is such beautiful light. It seems like the foliage is brighter and more colourful, the sunsets are more ruminant. I don’t know if this has something to do with the warmer temperatures we had in October but it sure is so beautiful. The other day I decided to skip the last 2 subway stations and walk home because it was just so gorgeous. Those are moments to cherish and I can not imagine living in a place with no seasons.

craftaliciousme seeking creative life fall foliage with sprinkler Berlin

Christmas Crafting

On another note I relized this week that I am running late with my DIY advent calendar. As in the past years I am participating with 23 fellow crafters in an DIY calendar. We are all making one item 24x and then swipe-swaping around so that in the end everyone receives a full set of a calendar. I have to turn in my packages with #14 by November 16th so I really needed to speed things up a bit. It is a lot of work however it is an even bigger treat when I can open a package everyday in December. So much love and creativity went into it. Have you ever participated in something like that?

NaBloPoMo

I’ve been busing writing blog posts every minute of the day. I like a challenge and here I am doing the daily writing again. I haven’t much pre-planned so I have to come up with something on a daily basis. Also November seems to be a website-kinda month for me. I usually tinker on my blog a bit. Try some new things, try to update stuff, lean some new tech things. It’s always good, but I am soooo slow in all this. I get easily annoyed because I just don’t get it and then I get tired and almost fall asleep at the screen. Anyone else suffering from exhaustion by boredom? However this is probably what my weekend is going to look like. Spending a bit more time writing, reading, tinkering.

While I finish sipping my coffee I will read the #WeekendCoffeeShares and then hop over to Denise.

Happy weekend,

Tobia

 

Disclaimer: This post contains links to other Blogs. Due to current (German) law this needs to be labelled advertising. Furthermore I have linked a few of my older articles because I believe you might enjoy them. 

Current TV Shows I Watching

Hello there,

It’s the time of year were snuggling up on the couch is favorite thing to do. If I don’t have a fire burning and read a book or surf the net I often have a show playing. So I figured I let you in on my current TV shows I am watching.

Nashville

A show about my guilty pleasure – country music. I have just finished season 4 and I love it mainly for the music. Which means a lot because music usually doesn’t play a big role in my life. The characters of the show are ok but sometimes i’s a bit too much drama and especially in season 4 I felt like all the political debates needed to be voiced. But I am having the soundtrack playing on my phone so I obviously like it enough.

How to get away with murder

I believe there was movie with Sandra Bullock about the story. Now it’s a tv show. I enjoyed season 1 and am currently in the middle of 2. However it sometimes feels a bit slow. I am not sure if I will watch all 5 seasons. However I do like a good crime show and I have recently watched all of them so this one it is.

Scorpion

I love this show. I like shows with case work and when I have the feeling I can actually lern something while watching even better. This show defiantly makes me feel “stupid”. Season 4 just became available.

Salvation

What happens when an astroid collides with earth and extinguishes all life? It’s a bit nerdy and interesting to consider if this would really happen. This is a show we watch together. We are done with season 1 and can’t wait for season 2 to be on Netflix.

Lucifer

We just started season 2 of this show a few nights ago. I probably like it a bit more than Mr. ♥. When winter comes around I am craving supernatural stuff with demons, vampires and such.

This is just a snap of what is currently on my list. So many more I am in the middle of. I keep track of it all with the TV time app. How do you do it? Only watch shows that are already completed? Or watch it as soon as they come out and then wait for the next season? I like collecting a few seasons and then just binge watching them. I am not a patient person and it drives my nuts when I have to wait.

Now leave a recommendation for a show I should put on my list.

Happy weekend,

Tobia

 

Disclaimer: This post contains links. Due to current (German) law this needs to be labelled advertising. Furthermore I have linked a few of my older articles because I believe you might enjoy them. 

The Fear of a Blank Space

Hey There,

This post is a bit embarrassing but lets get real here. If you follow this blog from the beginning you know that one of my earlier posts were about getting a craft room. That was in 2013. That was 4 years ago. I do have the room – it is not at all done and the way I wish it would be. I think I fear the blank space and it’s possibilities.

When I got this room I was so hyper-ecxcited about all the possibilities that I think I got overwhelmed. I had this perfect vision of an organized craft lab, spent hours on Pinterest pinning to my board “Hooray! Getting a craft room…” but then just couldn’t decide. I think I got stuck in this status quo ever since.craftaliciousme seeking creative fear of blank space

I did manage to get the furniture figured out but I still have no color on the wall or the reading nook I dream of. Knowing my messy self my hunters-gatheres mentality when it comes to craft supplies I really wanted to only move stuff into the cabinets once I had figured out a system. Problem is, the system is only half existing but the stuff exists. Outside the cabinets – on the floor, on the sideboard, on the desk while some cabinets are still empty. As you can imagine it does create some problems… Not only since I started working from home in March 2017.

Earlier this year – someone I follow online – got her home office re-organized. I think it was one or two months or so in total for the make-over. And I remember I was in awe that she just went and did and taking time out of her day to do so. I remember I also was wondering how much money & time was going in that office as it really looked so good. And then a few months later I learnt she is moving to an office and doesn’t need her home office anymore. For me that would be such a waste of resource and time. And still I am somewhat struggling because what is really better? Living in an unfinished space because being scared of making the wrong decision of maybe not liking my decision in a few months? Or just doing it and enjoying it as long as possible even if it is only for a few months. I mean who is judging me or holding me back if I change it again?

I sense it is not really about getting something physically done here. Something else is going on. Maybe it is about investing in myself, allowing myself to have a happy place, giving creativity a room…

Does anyone else experience this? How do you or did you handle it?

Or maybe it is because I lost the ability to know what I really want and need. Or maybe I never really learnt that. Most people would probably have a party with having an entire room to create from scratch for me it is just overwhelming. And while Mr. 🖤 is consistently offering help – and he’s brilliant in interiors – I equally consistently pass it up. I need to figure this out myself and I need to find out what is going on.

So while I work my way towards my 2018 resolution in baby steps – but baby steps it’s all it needs, right – send advice, encouragement and tips my way please.

Happy day to you,

Tobia

The Fascination of Fire

Hello hello,

while I am typing away this evening I have a fire burning. Not a real one – unfortunately. A digital one on my TV but it crackles and flickers like the real thing. I even believe the room has warmth to it and everything feels much more cozy. Fire is just fascinating in that way, isn’t it? I could follow the dance of the flames forever. It is meditative. It is calming. It is peaceful.

craftaliciousme seeking creative life fascination of fire dog

I always liked fall and spring season when my dad had to prune the trees and we had a big bonfire in the garden. It burnt all day and we would put potatoes in the ashes to eat later in the day. Sometimes my mom would make bread we would twist around sticks and bake in the flames. Of course it all got burnt but we didn’t know about cancer and such. Unfortunately I also didn’t know about s’mores. At a later age we would sit around the fire and talk the night away with friends or sing songs and stick bread was exchanged to beer. But the memories are equally fun. When visiting my parents now and we are bbq-ing sooner rather then later there is a fire burning.

Fire seems to be connected to being cozy and happy. Fire is safe. Fire doesn’t scare me.
There is a hotel here in Europe that as a (digital) fire burning when you enter your room. I love it. I remember a city trip to Vienna were we ended up spending lots of time in a the hotel room because it was just so comfy and we were just so exhausted after a stressful year looking at the fire. Now you would assume it was a awful vacation with us being in Vienna and not seeing much but it wasn’t. I believe fire was art of the reason.

craftaliciousme seeking creative life fascination of fire

However essential fire is I do not think I could start a fire myself if I ever needed to. I mean I don’t smoke so I never have any matches or lighter with me. If I end up at an deserted island that’s it. Anyone else be the first to go raw vegan? Up for a speed-survival-training? There are 3 ways to start a fire:

  1. Friction: basically having to sticks and rubbing them at each other until they burn. This is supposed to be the easiest way to start a fire. (Good luck to us!) Other ways here would be drilling a stick into wood or sawing with a stick on wood. all the same process of friction.
  2. Lightbeaming: if you run around with a magnifying glass or a curved mirror you can focus the light and start a fire. I guess if you wear glasses this could work. This article explains how to use this technique with ice and condoms.
  3. Sparking: make a spark to start a fire. To do so you would need a flint and steel. If you don’t have flint you could use quartzite (whatever that is). This option seems to be the worst in my opinion.

How about we just enjoy the fire and not think about it’s lifesaving features tonight. I will stare into the flames for a bit more, let my thoughts drift by and then take a little walk in bogland to see who else was blogging tonights.

Happy evening,

Tobia