Beautifully ribbed ceiling above the entrance to Saint Mary's Cathedral in the Basque city of Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. The inter-crossing points of the ribs and the decoration are covered by engravings of saints, with Jesus Christ in the center of the cross.
Saint Mary's Cathedral is probably one of the worst built cathedrals still standing and it is precisely this fact that makes it special. The citizens of Gasteiz have fought relentlessly over the centuries to prevent it from crumbling down.
Reinforcements that were added to sustain the extra weight when the wooden ceiling was replaced by a stone one after a fire some centuries ago. However these were not enough and the old cathedral had to be closed and undergo severe restoration during the last two decades.
The reinforcement of the foundations led to the excavation of the ground and this uncovered buried treasure of the far past, remains of older temples and graves that date back to the Roman empire. All this findings are now preserved and displayed under glass floors in several places, turning this old cathedral into one of the most peculiar ones.
The Cathedral was dis-invested of its religious status for the works and could be visited as a live museum. When the restoration was mostly done it was consecrated again, but it can still be visited.
Ken Follet, writer of Pillars of Earth, visited the works and afterwards said the visit had inspired the writing of the sequel, World Without End. The novel was afterwards presented to the world in this old temple.
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May 16th, 2014
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