Thursday’s windows: Cologne Cathedral

What a breathtaking sight is this Gothic masterpiece! The construction of Cologne Cathedral was begun in 1248, and wasn’t completed until 1880. In 1530, work on the church stopped, but the crane stood on top of the building for 300 years, as a symbol of hope that it would one day be completed. When it was finished in 1880, it was the tallest building in the world. The foundations were 50 feet deep and there were 10,000 sq metres of glass in the windows. In 1996, the cathedral was added to the Unesco World Heritage list of culturally  important sites.

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On entering this magnificent building, I was absolutely amazed at the height of the ceilings and the light streaming in through the windows behind the altar, which seemed to bathe everything in a celestial glow.

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There are countless stained glass windows, each one very beautiful and quite different from the other.

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As you can imagine, it’s impossible to do the windows justice with photos. We were told that coloured glass was thought to be the nearest thing to Heaven’s light, and thus captured the imagination of the people of the Middle Ages. The faithful who were mostly illiterate, received the message of the Gospel verbally, and their faith was encouraged by such reinforcing visual images, created by light reflected from these windows.

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Most of the windows are original, as they were taken out and put in a place of safety before the bombings of the two world wars. Much of the church was damaged during the bombings, but the windows were luckily unscathed.

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The most recent window in the cathedral was unveiled in 2007. It was designed by the famous German artist, Gerhard Richter, and is made up of 11,200 identically sized squares of glass. This very modern window is a veritable kaleidoscope of colours, and some people don’t like it at all. What do you think?

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my windows for the Thursday theme. To see more of this week’s interpretations of the challenge, just click here.