Church of the Vera Cruz (again)

This is the second time I’ve visited the Church of the Vera Cruz in Segovia, Spain, and I was frustrated to find it closed… again!

In fact, I missed the opening hours by mere minutes. This is a Templar church and therefore mandatory on the itinerary. Nonetheless, I checked out some of the exterior detail such as theses capitals:

My understanding is that the interior is quite basic. Still, it’s worth a visit considering it’s place in history. Seeing sights like this goes a long way to contextualizing historical references and it is well worth the time seeking out the smaller, out of the way places as they were on the route followed by people in days gone by. It is a method of seeing what they saw, doing what they did. Enjoy the journey.

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Published in: on September 21, 2010 at 5:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Arch of San Miguel, Spain

The Arch of San Miguel stands in a field at the edge of the town of Sasamón.

It was the entry portico to a 15th Century church that once stood on this spot. A shame the church did not survive. However, the arch is there as a reminder. It’s actually a dramatic sight: the arch, the field beyond, the blou sky above. This was a place for quiet reflection on the march of time. Take a moment to stop and think. It’ll do wonders.

Published in: on July 14, 2010 at 11:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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Sasamón, Spain

Sasamón, Spain features a magnificent “little” cathedral that you would not expect in this location. The town is quite small but on the Road to Santiago and therefore a stopover for pilgrims both presently and in days gone by. I call this a “little” cathedral because it has all the features of larger examples. The correct name is Santa María la Real.

The scene above gives a sweeping introduction to both the town and the church. You see the fountain there and if you were able to turn around, you’d be looking at the ayuntamiento, or government house. The gateway and yard beyond beckons the traveler to the church in the background. The church went through several iterations as it grew or was remodeled. You can see remnants of the different styles as you amble about the grounds.

In the cloister, you’ll find examples of cut stone artistry, still standing centuries after it was put in place. Inside are tableaus like this one.

A dramatic altar piece…

…and in the choir loft a well-played organ.

…and a baptismal font with fine carvings, too…

In particular, note the sleeping dogs around the base. Then have a gander at the pulpit, also of carved stone.

Again, there must have been hundreds of masons and no shortage of master craftsman pounding hammers and chisels all day long to build structures like this. It wasn’t the only church in town either, there were three, two of which survive. While walking through this church, we were the only ones present. Having a site like this to yourself is another honor. Enjoy it and be respectful.

Published in: on July 11, 2010 at 11:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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Burgos Monuments

Burgos, Spain, is a university town, sometimes overrun by that crowd. At the same time, you’ll find some significant monuments, like the cathedral and the old city gate.

In the cathedral above, El Cid is buried. The history of El Cid is well worth reading, especially for lessons in political will and military conquest. Then there is the old city gate.

Hard to miss that one. Just inside the gate you’ll find a plaza with several streets radiating from it. Along those streets are the bars and restaurants frequented by the students.

If you’re looking at the cathedral facade and thinking that it reminds you of one in northern Europe, you’d be spot on because the architect was from Cologne, Germany.

Published in: on July 8, 2010 at 11:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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