If I’m ever given the choice, the historical places I tend to want to be transported to first and formost are medieval catherdrals.
Although I love all historical places – be it a Georgian stately estate, a medieval timber-framed building, or a Victorian church – but there’s something uniquely special about about medieval religious houses.
Going into these buildings are amazing. They create such a beautiful sanctuary, and safe haven that seems to wrap you in a comfort blanket. Once you step in, you walk slower so not to make a sound, and you look up to the ceiling to the sky-high heavens. You are transported to another world – almost to heaven – although you are still on earth. You look around to see everything so beautifully decorated. So much love and care went into these sanctuaries.
These landmarks reminds me that the people then had all the same hopes, dreams and worries that we still have today
Come to think of it, none of these were accidents. The aim was indeed to create a peice of heaven on earth – an ‘earthly representation of heavenly Jerusalem’.¹ These churches were built so high in order to make the church-goers look up to the ceiling, thus making them look up to the heavens as they did. Since no-one knows what heaven looks like, this gives a pretty good example of the medieval imagination. It also boggles my mind that the stonemasons of the Middle Ages knew how to build these sky high things.
Generally, I find anything medieval humbling. These buildings have been on this earth for nearly 1,500 years! For me, standing in, or beside, these landmarks reminds me that the people then had all the same hopes, dreams and worries that we still have today.
The aim was indeed to create a peice of heaven on earth – an ‘earthly representation of heavenly Jerusalem’
But right now, I imagine what it was like to live during those days. Was it easy or was it hard? Was were the people’s hope? What were their fears? Did they consider themselves lucky or unlucky? Were they grateful for their lives, or wishing that they lived in a different time and era?
Although we may have now evolved to the Digital Age, this does not mean that those centuries old worries have gone. We still feel the same things that they felt, just in a different time and era.
It certainly puts everything into perspective.
¹ Carol Davidson Cragoe, BBC History: The Medieval Stonemason, 'Heavenly Jerusalem', http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/middle_ages/architecture_medmason_01.shtml#three [17 Feb 2011], [Accessed: 10 April 2015].
Written in response to Writing 101 prompt: Day Two - A Room with a View.