Sunday, August 12, 2012

Regensburg's angels

It was early on a Saturday morning and all was quiet in Regensburg. As the vendors unpacked their fruit stalls on the Neupfarrplatz, we were offered some figs right in front of the church steps  - and decided to peek inside.

I didn't pay much attention to the music session right away. However, as my friend Gina and I made our way around this fairly unassuming church, we kept finding reasons to stay and soon found ourselves completely overwhelmed by the rendition of Ave Maria, magnified by the church organ and the acoustics of the building. The deep and peaceful voice immediately set the tone for the rest of our day.

The Neupfarr church itself is a parish chapel built on top of an old Gothic synagogue built on top of a Medieval Roman church. So, while it is not as visually overpowering as other structures in the area, it said to be built on one of the most historically rich sites in Germany - which also yielded a large collection of Medieval coins.

Gina and I ended up spending the rest of the day church hopping in Regensburg and the incredible thing is that not one of them looks the same - even in the slightest. Some are white and light, others are pink and bright, while we also found ourselves inside some dark and mouldy places where I was gasping for air.

Just around the corner from the Neupfarrkirche lies the Regensburg Cathedral, one of the most famous Gothic buildings in Bavaria. It is majestic and beautiful, but also be somewhat eerie, especially with all the skeletons and and evil looking creatures making their appearance in the design of the building. The cathedral, however, is also home to the popular smiling angel - created in 1280 by a sculptor known as the Master of St Erminold. She looks particularly cheerful, especially in such dark and dramatic surroundings.

It's a little bit like information overload to spend time in such diverse and elaborate churches. There is so much detail and I'm sure it would be possible to notice something different no matter how many times you enter through those heavy doors. I always strain my neck trying to look at the roof paintings and I wish it would be possible to just lie down on a church bench and stare at the roof paintings and sculptures for hours. Of course, such behaviour would not be welcomed in these kinds of environments so I simply try the next best option and take as many photos as possible so that I can enjoy them later.

On this trip, one of my favourite things by far was the little angels (as in these photots) perched on the pillars and looking down from the church ceilings in all shapes and sizes and colours. A little reminder that there are pure hearted creatures out there that help us get by. Friends, family and, sometimes, angelic voices that knowingly and unknowingly help us find our way.

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