Inside Strasbourg Cathedral

Photo taken in November, 2011

Cathedrals look like rooms. But they act like cities.

Take the Strasbourg Cathedral, for instance. I walk inside the door, and I say to myself, “This is nothing but a very large room. It has the same thing cathedrals always have: pillars, vaults, stained glass, tapestries. I can see it all from here.”

But as I walk, new vistas open up around me.

Photo taken in November, 2011

Like this view of St. Bartholomew and St. Philip standing on a pillar between stained glass windows.

Details that I couldn’t see before enchant me.

Photo taken in November, 2011

Like the medieval city herald who stands beneath the organ pipes.

To see all this cathedral has to offer, I have to walk through it as I would walk up a city street.

Photo taken in November, 2011

And look through railings.

Photo taken in November, 2011

And admire the gorgeous dress on a beautiful lady.

Photo taken in November, 2011

And pick out an interesting face.

Photo taken in November, 2011

And witness a sad and very dramatic arrest.

Who would have thought, from the relatively uncomplicated view at the door, that a peek into the vault above the main altar would look like this?

Photo taken in November, 2011

And this city even has a jail.

There is a legend about Strasbourg Cathedral that the devil was riding by on the wind one night when he saw the cathedral and felt curious to see how he was pictured inside. He entered the cathedral, and he hasn’t come out. The wind still howls around the square outside, waiting for its rider to return.

And what happened to the devil? He’s here.

Photo taken in November, 2011

All tied up and stuck inside a stained glass window!

On Friday: the Pillar of Angels.

To read my latest blog posts, please click on the “Green and Pleasant Land” logo at the top of this page. Photos taken in November, 2011, in Strasbourg, France. Text and photos copyright 2011 by Clare B. Dunkle.

This entry was posted in Churches and religion, Europe, Tourist destinations. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Inside Strasbourg Cathedral

  1. Some truly awesome shots. It amazes me that we were there in 1999 and didn’t see what you’ve captured here. We must go back, I think. Thank you.

  2. Clare B. Dunkle says:

    I know how you feel, actually, when you say you’re surprised you didn’t see all this. The photos are almost better than the real thing in the sense that the photos filter out the two hundred or so talking, shoe-scuffling, gum-smacking individuals who shared the cathedral with me–and doubtless distracted you during your visit as well. I found it hard to concentrate on the beauty because of all the humanity. But the camera kept me … well, focused! I’m starting to enjoy thoroughly the taking of photos for this blog because it makes me keep looking at what’s in front of me.

  3. Vanina says:

    Very interesting pictures. For years I’ve heard that behind the main altar, or below it, there’s an altar to Satan, to show the power of God over the Devil. Is this true?
    Thanks for your reply.
    Best regards,

  4. Clare B. Dunkle says:

    Vanina, there’s no altar to Satan to my knowledge anywhere in the cathedral. However, below the cathedral is the Romanesque crypt, which predates the cathedral itself. It’s a very creepy place, and in that creepy place is a column with demonic figures carved on it. They aren’t close to the crypt altar, though, and the crypt altar itself is squarely on the side of the angels–literally, since there’s a lovely stained-glass image of an angel directly in front of it.