Europe,  Family vacations

Ely Cathedral : The Magnificent and Mammoth Cathedral

For the un-initiated and the unique tourist this wonder will be a bold revelation into the lives and time of the people of a bygone era. The hard work and the basic thought that must have gone into the making of such godzilliac structure cannot be replicated even in these modern times. It isn’t technology that can curve out such beasts of wonders. The inspiration that must lead to such creations is unknown in our times. Maybe that is why religion and anti-religious practices have come to the fore front in the current times.

This ancient beauty of a heritage monument lies in Cambridgeshire Country in England. This medieval cathedral is magnificence personified with the many characteristics that make it unique and a wonder.

The building of the cathedral was competed in 1189 and was designed in the classic Romanesque style. In the thirteenth and the fourteenth century some changes and additions were incorporated which add to the beauty of the structure.
Get on board the ship of Fens:

Ely which is said as “eely” during most of the history was an island that was until the marshy lands of the Fens were drained out during the eighteenth century. For a long time period this mammoth of a monument in terms of religious and cultural significance has been also known as the ship of the Fens. Situated in between the Idyllic and flat green landscape surrounding the great Ely cathedral make it appear to float high as if wearing a Halo.

The monument doors are kicked open from Easter until October. The admission fee is pound three and fifty pence. It is open from Monday to Saturday from 10:30 am to 5 pm. And on Sundays from 12pm to 4:30 pm.
Great attractions of Ely Cathedral:

The views from the monument are of the lovely green patches in the west when stretches on to the north. From the north one can also see the Lady Chapel’s great window. On the south of the Cathedral one can see great monastic buildings. These structures are the biggest collection of medieval monastic architecture in the whole of England.

The monuments west front can be termed peculiar and unusual. It can be due to the absence of the northwest transept. The loss of the turrets on the westward tower and the octagonal belfry also contribute to the unusual look. The asymmetric and lopsided attribute is loved by the many who flock here.

But equal numbers find it ugly and use strong words such as hate. The twelfth century exterior still has intricate carvings which although weathered are more than worthy of a closer appreciation. Do not hesitate to pull out those extra long binoculars and zoom in to your hearts content.

Inside the Ely cathedral there is a Norman nave which is very finely designed and was built from the east to the west. The changes in architecture in the four decades during its construction can be seen in the structure itself. Not until the start of the sixth bay the molding of the arches is square and there onwards the molding is round in the subsequent bays.

The upper storey which has windows is known as the clerestory. It was built over a shorter span of time and has a crude finish to its design. This is an indication of junior masons who were given the opportunity to try the latest designs on stone to develop and hone their skills. This place is hardly in the visibility line of the worshippers who thronged here.
Michelangelo’s style revisited:

Victorian influence is seen in the design of the ceiling and the floor. Pavements replacing rough stones in 1869 can be seen in the floor elements. Great and gifted artists Thomas Gambier Parry and his dear friend Henry Styleman le strange painted the wooden ceiling in 1858. Similar to Michelangelo they painted the ceiling in situ, on their backs in bad light conditions.

Romanesque style carvings of the 12th century add magnificence to the Prior’s door. The prior’s door is situated off the southern aisle of the nave. The cravings represent and depict the Christ held in the arms of archangels and being blessed by the creature of the universe. Two human heads are shown looking down form the pilasters and the corners. The medallions have various humans and beasts shown in them.

The oldest and one of the fine artifacts to be found in the cathedral in the southern aisle lying next to the prior’s door is the Ovin’s stone. It is the memorial crosses’ base dating from the eighth century which is the saxon period of history. In the eastern end the nave opens out into a large space under the octagon. This space was originally where the Norman central tower resided.

St. Etherelda’s life is depicted here in the form of sculptures on the eight huge pillars which support giant triangles of old English oak. From the apex of these triangles the vertical posts of the octagon gallery rises.

The unusual nature of the cathedral continues in the feature that is missing here, the bishop’s throne. Among the many sights of architectural greatness to be viewed here is the stain glass museum.