Tuesday, April 7, 2009

France - Bourges Cathedral (FR-45552)

This beautiful card shows the Bourges Cathedral, which has been a UNESCO site since 1992. I used to think that the gothic cathedrals in Poland are really great, until I went to Belgium and France and saw really enormous and magnificient churches. Actually, it doesn't mean that I like them more than the ones in Poland, because I still feel better and find it easier to pray in small churches. Anyway, when I travel, I always want to visit the cathedrals or other churches to see, how different they are in other countries. I haven't been to Bourges, but if I go there someday, I'll definitely visit the Saint Stephen Cathedral. I'm not good at architecture, but looking at this card I have an impression that this cathedral doesn't seem to be "heavy", even though it's really big. I'm not surprised that it was inscribed on the UNESCO list :)

Bourges Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Étienne de Bourges) is a cathedral, dedicated to Saint Stephen, located in Bourges, France. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Bourges. Construction of Bourges Cathedral began in 1195, the same time as Chartres Cathedral. The choir was completed by 1214 and the nave was completed in 1225-1250. The west façade was finished in 1270. The architect was Paul-Louis Boeswillwald and the master builder was Philip Berruyer. The cathedral was added to the list of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1992. Bourges is notable for the unity of its design, seen in no other cathedral of the High Gothic era. It features two distinct horseshoe aisles that wrap around a central nave and choir). The inner aisle has a higher vault than the outer aisle. Each ambulatory/aisle has its own portal at the west end. The five portal entrance necessitated more careful design to create a more coherent façade. This also eliminated the usual cross-shaped transept design. The gallery is absent; instead the inner aisle has been raised. This gives the cathedral a pyramidal shape under the buttresses. The flying buttresses are very structurally efficient (particularly compared to those at Chartres, which is a contemporary structure) as the steep angle channels the thrust from the nave vaults and from wind loading more directly to the outer buttress piers.

1 comment:

Sheila said...

I visited Bourges just a few days ago! It's well worth seeing, particularly for the stone carvings around the doors, and the stained glass. It is huge! I climbed to the top of the tower - 396 steps.