Which is Better?

Most churches are inarguably better decorated on the inside than the outside. After all, that’s where God and the parishioners money reside. But Strasbourg Cathedral calls that conventional wisdom into question.

Sure, the interior is fantastic, including a set of organ pipes that have been affixed high on the wall since the 14th century. But have a close look at what’s going on on the outside, it’s pretty amazing.

My apologies for too many similar photos. I want to give you a thorough impression of the place.

So, we agree that the exterior is pretty great, yes? The interior is also spectacular. Besides the 14th century organ pipes on the wall, notice the windows. These are all, or mostly, original. All were removed during the Second World War, hidden, found and stolen by the Nazis, then returned by the Monuments Men.

Do you remember the Monuments Men? I mentioned them earlier for their work at Naumburg Cathedral. This group of allied soldiers were charged with rescuing and protecting Europe’s historic treasures. It seems that they had a lot to do.

Note, also, the column supporting the ceiling that has carvings of saints. That was a big deal in the 14th century. Columns were typically unadorned, as are all the others in this building.

There’s also an astronomical clock. Originally built in the 14th century and subsequently rebuilt twice, it must have seemed like the pinnacle of technology, or magic, to the average peasant.

Besides giving all kinds of temporal information, it puts on complex shows at various times of day. Various figures march past Death, and so on. You can see some of the figures in the photos.

Finally, a photo of a little fellow that I found clinging to an outside wall.

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