One of the first things that we did upon our arrival in Cochabamba was to visit the Cristo de la Concordia, which is a statue of Jesus Christ. The statue sits on top of San Pedro Hill and is accessible by a cable car or you can walk the 2,000 steps to the statue if you prefer. The statue is quite interesting, but since San Pedro Hill is almost 900 feet (265 meters) above the city of Cochabamba, the views are worth the visit as well.
The Cristo de la Concordia statue was modeled after the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. The similarities are obvious, but the statue in Cochabamba is actually slightly larger. The statue is position such that the left hand points south and the right hand points north. Visiting the statue and seeing the views of the city should certainly be part of any visit to Cochabamba.
Located at the base of Gellert Hill, the hill that the Citadella (fortress) sits atop, is a system of caves. One of the caves was converted into a chapel in the 1920’s and even served as a hospital for the Germans during WWII. Known as the Cave Church, it was certainly one of the most interesting places that we visited during our time in Budapest. A cross on top of the hill denotes the location of the church, which is also located near the famous Gellert Baths where people gather to enjoy the therapeutic thermal baths.
The atmosphere within Cave Church is interesting due to the lack of natural light and the rugged cavern walls. After its conversion to a hospital by the NAZI army during the war, it returned to serving as a church until 1951 when the Soviet Union had it shut down. The chapel was raided by the Soviet Army, the monks arrested, and the cave sealed up until Budapest regained their freedom in 1989. Today, the monks of the Pauline Order continue to operate the church and hold religious functions on the site as well as maintain it as a tourist attraction.
There is a nominal fee in order to enter the church and walking through the cavern will take you about thirty minutes to fully explore. In addition to the statues and artwork inside of Cave Church itself, there is also a small museum with additional historic artifacts. Exploring the church and understanding its history is certainly worth the effort of walking along the Danube below Gellert Hill. We combined it with our visit to the Citadella, which sits high above. It may not be the most well-known site in Budapest, but if your itinerary allows, we would recommend visiting.
Visiting the Lucca Cathedral was one of the highlights of the time that we spent touring the city of Lucca in Italy. One of the most fascinating things about the cathedral is the different colors of the bell tower due to the different materials that were used in its construction. The base of the tower is made of quartz stone, while the top floors are made of white limestone, making for an interesting contrast. Another interesting feature of the cathedral are the three arches that are part of the entrance. One of the arches is smaller than the other two due to the fact that the bell tower existed at the time of the construction and the architects reduced the size of the third arch to accommodate the tower.
Construction began on the Lucca Cathedral in 1063, but there were many changes over the years, including Gothic features that were added in the 14th century. There is some very interesting artwork and reliefs within the church, but one of the most important objects within the cathedral is the Holy Face of Lucca, also known as the Sacred Countenance. It is a wood crucifix with the image of Christ that was carved in the 1st century and is the most precious relic in Lucca. Another interesting feature within the Lucca Cathedral is the tomb of Ilaria del Carretto, which is considered to be a masterpiece.
Another interesting feature of the Lucca Cathedral are the columns on the façade that are of varying styles. Legend has it that the city commissioned three different artists to design the columns for the cathedral. When the artists presented their work, the town’s people apparently decided to use the columns from all three without paying them for their work. In addition to the columns of the façade, the marble entranceway is quite stunning with more unique columns and detailed reliefs above the doors.
Lucca Cathedral is definitely one of the most prominent buildings in the city of Lucca. With its unique coloring, beautiful artwork, and interesting design, it is different than most of cathedrals that we visited in Europe. Lucca itself is a wonderful walled city with medieval architecture and is worth at least visiting when in Tuscany. In addition to the Lucca Cathedral, there is also the Torre Guinigi, which is a tower with trees on the roof that provides wonderful views of the city.