I thought I'd post some additional shots from the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Strasbourg France which we visited in 2012.
The Strasbourg cathedral soars above a medieval square surrounded by a huddle of medieval houses, with a spire of such delicate, flaky, lightness it appears to be made of icing.
Strasbourg Cathedral or the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg (French: Cathédrale Notre-Dame-de-Strasbourg, German: Liebfrauenmünster zu Straßburg), also known as Strasbourg Minster, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Strasbourg, Alsace, France. Although considerable parts of it are still in Romanesque architecture, it is widely considered to be among the finest examples of high, or late, Gothic architecture. Erwin von Steinbach is credited for major contributions from 1277 to his death in 1318.
At 142 metres (466 feet), it was the world's tallest building from 1647 to 1874, when it was surpassed by St. Nikolai's Church, Hamburg. Today it is the sixth-tallest church in the world and the highest still-standing structure built entirely in the Middle Ages.
The central portal
This is the façade’s most richly decorated portal. The statues of the prophets of the Old Testament are represented here in the five arches of the portal. These characters are supposed to be the link between ancient and modern times and, as such, are guarantors of the accurate unfolding of history.
In the four historiated registers you can read scenes from the Old and New Testament, with the Passion of Christ as the central theme at the centre of the collection, and a statue of the Virgin With Child personifies Universal Wisdom (Sophia of the Greeks), the axis around which everything is ordered. Another statue of the Virgin is located above the tympanum, which itself is surmounted by a statue of Christ, King and Judge, whose throne is surrounded by musical lions.
During World War II, Strasbourg's Cathedral was seen as a symbol for both warring parties. Adolf Hitler, who visited it on 28 June 1940, intended to transform the church into a "national sanctuary of the German people" or into a monument to the Unknown Soldier; on 1 March 1941, General Leclerc made the "vow of Kufra" (serment de Koufra), stating he would "rest the weapons only when our beautiful colours fly again on Strasbourg's cathedral". During that same war, the stained glass was removed in 74 cases from the Strasbourg Cathedral and stored in a salt mine near Heilbronn, Germany. After the war, it was returned to the cathedral by the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives section of the United States military.
The Cathedral was hit by British and American bombs during air raids on Strasbourg's center on 11 August 1944, which also heavily damaged the Palais Rohan and the Sainte-Madeleine Church. In 1956, the Council of Europe donated the famous choir window by Max Ingrand, the "Strasbourg Madonna" (see also Flag of Europe Biblical interpretation). The last war damages were only repaired in the early 1990s.
A slightly blurry photo showing the Madonna with the twelve stars of the European flag.
The Strasbourg Cathedral is lined with gargoyles. On a structure such as the Cathedrale Notre Dame de Strasbourg a gargoyle is used as a method of clearing rain water from the building's gutter.
The emperor and his horse
Inside the cathedral:
The iconic astronomical clock is one of the greatest attractions of the Strasbourg cathedral. Built in the 16th century, this massive construction brought together the skills and knowledge of the best in Europe from the fields of mathematics, astronomy, craftsmanship and arts.
Earlier in 2012 we visited astronomical clock in Rouen France and in Prague Czech Republic.
The clock that you will see now was built by Jean-Baptiste Schwilgue. The show for the automatic cock starts at around 12.30 pm everyday. The automatons show the retinue of the Magi, along with a parade of the twelve apostles. The automatic clock can take notes of days and years, and also makes a fairly accurate declaration of 'computation' and predicts annual Easter following the complex Gregorian calendar rules. The entire construction is a scientific marvel in itself that cannot be ignored.
An angel rings a bell while a second one turns over the hourglass. At the same time, four characters which represent the four ages of life (infant, young man, adult and old man) march past Death. On the top level of the clock are the Twelve Apostles who march before Christ, bowing to him. Christ blesses them and the rooster perched on the left tower flaps its wings while crowing three times (an allusion to Peter’s denial in the Gospels).