Among all of the Notre Dames that I have seen, I think Strasbourg Cathedral de Notre Dame is the grandest and biggest so far. After my research, it is actually the 6th tallest church in the world. It is the most popular landmark of Strasbourg and somehow, I felt like it’s a little bit out of place with its gothic architecture amidst the timber houses of Strasbourg. Like all the other medieval churches, it boasts of the intricate sculpture all around the facade of the church.
Inside, the stained glass windows gives the cathedral a natural lighting.
The pulpit is actually one of the things which caught my eye while I was inside the cathedral, the carvings are so detailed that I felt afraid to touch it as it looks so delicate and I don’t want to ruin its perfection.
But of course, the astronomical clock inside the cathedral is what makes it all the more special.
Today tourists see only the sculpted figurines of this clock, but behind this ensemble there is a mechanism that engages and that represents one of the most beautiful curiosities of the Cathedral. The animated characters launch into movement at different hours of the day. One angel sounds the bell while a second turns over an hourglass. Different characters, representing the ages of life (from a child to an old man) parade in front of Death. On the last level are the Apostles, passing in front of Christ. The clock shows much more than the official time; it also indicates solar time, the day of the week (each represented by a god of mythology), the month, the year, the sign of the zodiac, the phase of the moon and the position of several planets. All these automatons are put into operation at 12:30 PM.
Legend has it that the creator of this clock had his eyes gouged out afterward, to prevent him from reproducing it. Tough times, yes?
There is a platform at the top of the cathedral which gives you the best view of the whole of Strasbourg. I wasn’t able to find it though and I was actually distracted by the numerous shops around the cathedral to even look harder for it. I was a lame tourist back there, I know. Maybe next time. 🙂