Monday, 31 January 2011

NEF A2: 7 Describing a building


The most beautiful building in my town is the Cathedral of Apostle Santiago. It's in the center of Santiago de Compostela, in the middle of the old town.
The construction of the present Cathedral began in 1075 during the reign of Alfonso VI and it was sopported by Bishop Diego Gelmírez. It ended on April 3, 1211 under the supervision of Archbishop Pedro Muniz and King Alfonso IX. But, after that, more discoveries were made under the Cathedral.
It has four facades overlooking a square, one in each cardinal point. The main facade is the Obradoiro Square (West), the Platerías Square (South), the Quintana Square (East) and the Azabachería Square (North). Outside, you can also see the fabulous Glory Portico, the tympanum, the mullion, the jamb, the side doors, the bell tower, the north tower or the tower of "Carraca" and the clock tower of the Trinity or "Berenguela".
Inside you can see and visit the choirs (one of stone and the other one of wood), the high altar, the one thousand pillars, the great organ, the burial crypt and a lot of chapels: Pilar's, Mondragón's, Azucena's or St. Pedro's, Salvador's, Nuestra Señora la Blanca's, St. Juan's, St. Bartolomé's, Concepción's, Espíritu Santo's, Corticela's, Comunión's, Cristo de Burgos' and Reliquias'; the Cathedral Treasure, the cloister and archive, the wall-hangings and the famous Botafumeiro, which weights 62 kilos empty and measures 160 centimeters and when it is in motion it reaches 68 Kph; the beautiful windows and the eye of God which is in the middle of the roof.
One of the best things you can do in Santiago is to go up to the roof of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The view is wonderful, you can see all the old town. You need to pass first through the wall-hangings museum to climb up the steps to the top.
The entrance to the Cathedral is free but if you want to see more things you have to pay and you have to dress propriately because it is a place of pilgrimage.

The most beautiful building of Córdoba is The Mosque-Cathedral. It’s today a World Heritage Site.

Construction began in 786 on the place occupied by the Visigothic basilica of St. Vincent Martyr. The Mosque was expanded during the Caliphate of Córdoba. With 23,400 square meters, it was the second largest mosque in the world in area, behind the Mosque of Mecca. One of its main features is that, unlike most mosques, when it was built, the qibla wall wasn’t facing the Mecca, but points to the South, according to the wishes of Abd al-Rahman I (it was oriented to the Guadalquivir River because of the love he had for his native Damascus).

We enter the Cathedral by the Puerta del Perdón, where we can see the rows of orange trees and palms. The Mosque stands surrounded by fountains and horseshoe arches. Inside we found a forest of 1,300 columns of marble, jasper and granite on which 365 two-coloured horseshoes arches are supported. The mihrab, a holy place, is a masterpiece of marble, stucco and brightly coloured Byzantine mosaics on gold, bronze, copper and silver.

In 1236 when the city was captured by King Ferdinand III of Castile, the Mosque was turned into a Christian church. In the fourteenth century it was rebuilt and the minaret was converted into the bell tower of the Cathedral. It was adorned with bells taken from the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, and it was designed by Hernán Ruiz on the remains of the minaret built by Abd al-Rahman III. It is crowned by a statue of St. Rafael.

This monument can be visited from Monday to Saturday, from 8:30 to 18:00 and Sunday form 8:30 to 10:00 and 14:00 to 18:00. The admission is 8€ for adults and 4€ for children and it is free every day from 8:30 to 10:00 except Sunday and religious holidays.