Strasbourg Cathedral – an illuminated past


While I was visiting Strasbourg last week, I had the privilege of being there for a truly once in a life time event. This summer marks the Millennium celebration of the foundation of the famous Strasbourg Cathedral. After a preview Friday, a 15 minute show will be offered every night until September 20, at the rate of multiple representations by evening that illuminate the facade of the Cathedral in a spectacle of different colored shapes and lights.

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These summer illuminations represent the high point of the celebration of the Millennium of the foundations of the Cathedral, the iconic building of the Alsatian capital. The famous single arrow of the Gothic-style building was completed in 1439, but the first foundations of the building had been requested exactly one thousand years ago, in 1015, for the construction of a Romanesque Basilica.

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On the Western facade of the building, on the side of its square, bright colors projected through a silver process are reminiscent of those that once adorned the sculptures and old colors. Thanks to spectacular light projections viewers get a feel for what real pilgrims, passers-by and visitors to the middle ages experienced when they passed the Cathedral.

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On the South facade, you are treated to an animated show featuring a narration for staging the Gigantism of the Cathedral, the work of its builders and their successors, seen shaping stoneware since virtual scaffolding – while the angels of stone come alive to the sound of the blow of their trumpets. This nocturnal light spectacle is designed to not only be beautiful, but also to celebrate the rich history of this ancient Cathedral.

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This is not my first illuminated building light show, as I have seen many Nuit Blanche events in Paris and other cities, where the city itself becomes a large outdoor museum filled with visual light installations on every building big and small. But last week in Strasbourg was truly something special. It was both visually stunning and simultaneously a nod to the history of Alsace. I encourage anyone who will be traveling nearby to stop and see it this summer.


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