After exploring other parts of the countries, we realized we had not seen more of Castries, the capital, than just its main market which we found full of colourful characters. After hurricanes, earthquakes, and fires, Castries does not have many sights to offer for visitors, and we decided to go to one of its most prominent buildings, the cathedral. Officially called the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, this is the largest church in the Caribbean region. Just a few blocks from the main market area, it was easy to find. From the outside, it did not immediately strike as very out of the ordinary, but as soon as we stepped inside, we immediately felt that we had entered a religious place with a special, local touch.
Our attention was immediately drawn to the ceiling: it is painted in dark yellow and green colours, depicting several religious figures. When we walked around the church, we started to note more interesting features. The stained glass windows depict religious figures in abstract shapes, often with a dark skin colour. So, one can see a black Mary with a black Jesus in her arms. We saw the same scenes in the murals, where the bright colours, mostly green, yellow and red, made the scenes look much more cheerful than in many traditional churches. Statues of angels with candles and exotic flowers which we had seen in abundance on the island.
The most prominent sight inside the cathedral is the patron of the island, St Lucia, which can be found directly above the altar which was unfortunately not readily accessible. The small windows were just large enough to allow us a view of the interior, even though the sun was about to set and we just had had some heavy rain and much of the sky was still covered in dark clouds. Walking down the main aisle, with the colourful walls and windows on our sides, the painted ceilings above us, and golden meshes on the benches in the aisle, made us feel lighter and cheerful when we were near the exit. It made me wonder how the old lady I saw on one of the last benches, praying on her knees, felt about it.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Castries Cathedral (Saint Lucia). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Castries Cathedral.
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