Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lyon: Churches and Church like Locales

Hello everybody,

Moving on now...
Some of you may say, church pictures, where's the food! I will get to the food, but first I have always been fascinated with churches and religion. When studying history at P.S.U., I thought about focusing on the history of religion, but then thought nah, I don't want to piss-off people. Back then I particularly liked the rituals and war aspects of religion and when I'm around old churches, I just have to see what the church looks like on the inside. Something about the history associated with the church makes me curious I guess... And through out Lyon there was an above average amount of churches tucked away into corners and atop hills, thus fueling my curiosity.

As in the picture below, modern buildings sit snuggling next to older buildings, in this case a church that was built during the 1300's. While some of it's outer structural appearance seemed in decline, it's interior seemed to be well preserved.

This was the first church we stepped into during our walk abouts, Eglise Saint Bonaventure, built in 1327. As you can also see it sits unimposing, until you walk in and are greeted by its cavernous space and high ceilings, which seemed to echo every sound our squeaky steps made. I could also still hear the Gregorian chants of days long past resonating in the air.

The painted glass was also amazing. Each artist had their own style and it made me wish I had taken an extra semester of Art History. The windows were a narrative in pictures of Jesus and his life. While I'm not completely religious... being inside this church and many of the other churches in Lyon, made me understand the spell binding powers these grand designs can have on people, because in each instance I was ready to dress in a monk robe and start carrying a light saber.

Here is the alter, though it looks grand, it was one of the more tame and unimposing that we saw on our trip.

So Gothic, L wanted to put on her black eyeliner and listen to Danzig.

Below are pictures of other churches we saw while walking. I never stopped to count how many churches were in the city, but it became apparent that there were more than I had thought.

Below is another church and one of my favorites,built around the Mid Ages or Renaissance, it had a monument to Joan of Arch in the courtyard in front of it's entrance.

The pastel colors were reflecting through out this church. Windows were placed accordingly to let light into the building at all the right places, causing me to have warm and restful feelings while in this church. I'm not sure L agreed with me, since all the churches were too cold for her, no central air and heating.

Look at this alter, look at the colors. I tried over and over to take the right picture of this space and was never happy. The picture above is the best I could do and it still does not represent the amount of soft light filling this church.

Below is more window art, I'm sure there is name for this kind of art other than calling it stained glass, but I don't know, perhaps Rahn, Noodle or Penner would know.

This was the exterior of the church and it was well preserved. I think the outside of the church was marble.

Below are a couple more churches.
Eglise Saint Nizier, Gothic completed in 16th Century

Ahh yes, Notre-Dame de Fourviere Basilica, this grand church of Lyon, which sat on the highest point in the city could be seen from just about anywhere in Lyon, well just about. The grounds that the church sits on presently, once also sat the Roman forum of Trajan. Trajan being a Roman conqueror and 13th emperor of Rome, those Romans were everywhere.
Here we are slowly making our assent. This place was gigantic and the inside of this church spared no expense.

Here you can see L awestruck by the view it provided of Lyon. I was also trying to provide a sense of scale for my picture. I never quite captured the immense size of this Basilica.

Behold, the interior

This church was the most ornate church I've seen thus far in my travels. Even L was speechless.

It seemed like every single piece of floor, wall and ceiling real estate was decorated in some fashion.

The church even had a basement that housed another smaller service room. Below are the pitures.

These are the staris that led back up to the main room. It also had another room adjacent to the grand service room which I failed to take pictures, next time.

This is an exterior picture of the smaller church that is connected sitting adjacent to the larger hall/service room. They are connected by a small hallway.

Here you can see L at the base of the Church as we prepare to head back down to the city center.

Ok that's all folks, next will be Lyon: A Gruba Grub Grub. Stay tuned.
Let me know if the pictures are not big enough or too big.