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Strasbourg Cathedral

Strasbourg Cathedral or the Cathedral of Our Lady of Strasbourg, is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Strasbourg, Alsace, France. Although considerable parts of it are still in Romanesque architecture, it is widely considered to be among the finest examples of high, or late, Gothic architecture.

Described by Victor Hugo as a “gigantic and delicate marvel”, and by Goethe as a “sublimely towering, wide-spreading tree of God”, Strasbourg Cathedral is visible far across the plains of Alsace and can be seen from as far off as the Vosges Mountains or the Black Forest on the other side of the Rhine. Sandstone from the Vosges used in construction gives the cathedral its characteristic pink hue.

Like the city of Strasbourg, the cathedral connects German and French cultural influences, while the eastern structures, e.g. the choir and south portal, still have very Romanesque features, with more emphasis placed on walls than on windows.

Above all, the famous west front, decorated with thousands of figures, is a masterpiece of the Gothic era. The tower is one of the first to rely substantially on craftsmanship, with the final appearance being one with a high degree of linearity captured in stone. While previous façades were certainly drawn prior to construction, Strasbourg has one of the earliest façades whose construction is inconceivable without prior drawing.

At 142 metres (466 feet), the north tower, completed in 1439, was the world’s tallest building from 1647 to 1874 (227 years), when it was surpassed by St. Nikolai’s Church, Hamburg. Today it is the sixth-tallest church in the world and the highest still-standing structure built entirely in the Middle Ages.

Sebastien took part in the restoration of the spire in 2003. He hand carved several complex sets of Gothic tracery using traditional techniques and skills. Working at 142 metres above the ground, Sebastien fixed them in place with lead to enhance the strength and flexibility of the intricate pattern.

  • Categories: Conservation, Restoration, Stonemasonry, Work