Ely: Cathedral of the Holy Trinity

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Construction of the monastic church in Ely began in 1083 under the leadership of the Abbot Simeon, who was a kinsman of William the Conquerer. The church became a cathedral in 1109 with completion of the building in its present form by 1350.

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Also known as the Ship of the Fens, the cathedral is constructed of ashlar faced Barnack limestone. Flying buttresses support the 12th century exterior which retains numerous carved figure heads and grotesques adorning the towers with pinnacles.

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The cathedral contains early Norman to late Perpendicular examples of Gothic architecture with windows of several architectural styles which have been added throughout the course of its history.

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The 12th century Norman nave features a ceiling of painted panels which depict the history of man with figures of patriarchs, prophets and evangelists. The painting of the nave ceiling was started during the Victorian restoration of the building by the amateur artist Henry Styleman Le Strange in 1858 and following his death in 1862, the painting was completed by the English artist Thomas Gambicr Parry in 1865.

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Arcades of undecorated columns line the aisles with floor tiles which date to the 19th century restorations.

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The richly decorated pulpit dates to the 19th century Victorian restorations under the direction of architect Sir George Gilbert Scott.

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Beautiful vaulted ceilings adorn the cathedral interior which rise up from wall shafts between the windows. The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity is Grade I Listed.

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Florence: Basilica di San Miniato al Monte

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The Basilica di San Miniato al Monte (Church of San Miniato) sits in an elevated position overlooking the city of Florence. Built on the site of a 4th century chapel, the present church was built by the Florentine Bishop Hildebrand in 1018. Forming geometric designs, the facade is decorated with green and white marble with a 12th century mosaic above the pedimented central window.

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Of a Romanesque design, the entire basilica took almost two centuries to complete. The church has a central nave, three aisles and frescoes which date to the 13th and 14th centuries.

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The large mosaic of Christ flanked by the Madonna and Saints adorns the apse and dates to 1297.

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The 13th century nave is marble intarsia decorated with the signs of the zodiac and symbolic animals. The exquisitely decorated pulpit dates to the 13th century and depicts three of the four Evangelists.

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The trussed timber roof is equally rich in colour and decoration.

Bury St Edmunds: Abbey of St Edmund West Front

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The medieval ruins of the Abbey of St Edmund date to the 11th and 12th centuries. Constructed of flint rubble, the houses inserted into the west front during the 18th century lay derelict requiring a major intervention to make them habitable once again.

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Designated as a Building at Risk, English Heritage and St Edmundsbury Borough Council deliberated to sensitively achieve the conservation and conversion of the structure into five new high-quality dwellings.

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Retaining as much of the fabric as possible, the building is once again fully inhabited.

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Rear of west front

New rear extensions were built into the remaining fabric of the Abbey structure (above)

Zadar: Crkva sv Marije

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Located across the remains of the Roman Forum from the Church of St Donat is the Church of St Mary (Crkva sv Marije). Established in the 9th century as a Benedictine nunnery, it was founded by a noblewoman named Cika, a daughter of a powerful local nobleman named Madije. Cika became its first abbess and the Croatian king Petar Kresimir IV donated the church to her. A new Romanesque, aisled basilica, was built in 1091 of which much is preserved today despite undergoing reconstructions on two occasions. It was enlarged with the addition of two bays in 1507 and had a new Renaissance front, a circular gable and southern front.

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After victory and the conclusion of peace in 1105, King Koloman endowed the construction of the campanile and the chapter house, the first High Romanesque buildings in Dalmatia. The four capitals supporting the groin vault in one of the first floor rooms, one of the oldest in Europe, have the King’s name inscribed. In 1742-44, the interior was redesigned in the Baroque style and richly stuccoed. In the 19th century the interior was renovated again in Classicist style. Almost totally destroyed in 1943-44 by air raids, it was reconstructed in the 1970’s. Since reconstruction, the western and northern nunnery wings have been used for the permanent exhibition of religious art. Objects produced by Zadar’s goldsmiths during the Gothic period are on display here.

Dubrovnik: Sv.Nikole

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At right angles to Placa, many small narrow streets run towards the north with numerous flights of steps ascending steeply to the northern section of the city walls. Running parallel to Placa, a long straight street (Prijeko) cuts across these little streets. The original picturesque outlook is well preserved in this part of the city. Prijeko street is a narrow but straight street and is bounded in the west by the lateral wall of the Franciscan Monastery and in the east the front of the church of St. Nicholas (Sv.Nikole). This little church is one of the oldest churches in Dubrovnik and built in the 11th century. This church of the seamen of Dubrovnik was reconstructed several times and the present day Late Renaissance front dates to the 16th century.

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