This week I have left the home of Mike and Linda Peters – the couple whom I am staying with during my time in St. Louis – as they are out of town, and have moved in with a young family from their congregation: Jason, Kathryn, and their two little boys. Here I am living in the city, as opposed to the county – the city’s leafy suburbs. Therefore I am closer to all the attractions the city has to offer.
My new view
As well as going to the zoo (which, by the way, is free despite being one of the best zoos in the country), I was able to visit the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.
Until now, I had never been awe-struck by entering a church building. The tall walls and high ceilings are completely covered in mosaics which form amazingly intricate patterns, and the light which pours through the stained glass softly illuminates the room just enough so that the tiles sparkle and shimmer as you walk about.
The mosaics cover 83,000 square feet, making it the largest mosaic installation in the world, containing 41.5 million glass tesserae pieces in more than 7000 colours. (Thanks Wikipedia!)
I was shocked to discover that construction of the cathedral only began in 1908. Being from Europe, I am used to these kinds of buildings being ancient – such as St. Paul’s Cathedral which was founded in 604 AD. The St. Louis Basilica Is brand new in comparison, which was hard for me to believe when I first learned this, as it looks so distinguished and long established. Installation of the mosaics began in 1912 and wasn’t finished until 1988.
I was so impressed by the cathedral that I visited twice in the same day. My camera ran out of battery on the first trip, so I made sure to revisit after I had re-charged it. The photos don’t do the place justice – it was hard to take them in the dim light, and you can’t appreciate the scale of the building and both the amount and intricacy of the mosaics until you are there in person.