Everywhere you go, every city you visit, more often than not and even in the most remote areas, chances are that you will find yourself in front of a place where men and women come or used to come to pray and celebrate their God, either a church, a temple, a mosque, a synagogue…
In Europe, chapels, churches, basilicas and cathedrals are predominant and I feel drawn to them like a magnet. I’ve given some thoughts to this and wanted to share with you the reasons why I love churches so much.
So here we go:
1 – Churches are usually the most ancient monuments in any given village or town. I have a thing for roman and gothic architecture and churches are in some regions the only thing left of these times. There are of course a lot of medieval castle in Europe but this will be for another post.
2 – Churches pretty much come in all shape and size. This diversity means that stopping by to visit a church is always going to be a new experience.
3 – Churches were usually built by the best craftsmen, they represent the artistic and architectural knowledge of their time.
4 – Churches are part of the typical village landscape. Dominating just slightly the houses and other buildings surrounding them, tucked in the middle of fields and forests, together they form the idyllic picturesque view of a European village.
5 – Churches often have amazing art collection inside. From painting to sculptures, some art pieces are «expected», but some can be quite surprising, when some can even feel out of place. Some are a bit puzzling, at least to me. No offense to anyone, reliquaries are amazingly crafted and beautiful treasures but I do tend to prefer them empty of any relics!
6 – Churches are usually peaceful and silent and most people respect that which is so rare nowadays.
7 – Walking into a church you’ve never been before is always a surprise. A church might be rough on the outside and a beautiful gem inside. Like people, the outer appearance can be deceptive.
8 – Churches, unlike a lot of castle and other types of buildings have been protected, rebuilt when destroyed, rebuilt again when too small, rebuilt when destroyed again… They have crossed time, witnessed humans evolution, carry within their walls the scars of wars and human stupidity but they are also proof of the capacity of men to do wonders beyond what is possible to imagine.
9 – It isn’t rare to find churches which construction started in the 12-13th century. That’s more than 800 years of prayers, faith, devotion, love, happiness, sadness and every feelings in between, in the same place. Just the thought of it is fascinating.
10 – It is said that the builders were connecting to the Earth energies to choose the best location and orientation possible for the church they were building. No wonder why some churches feel so good when you walk in.
And I find it much nicer to walk into a church by a hot sunny day just to cool off than to have to go to a modern building even if it has aircon! But that’s just me 😉