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Saint Lucia: Castries Cathedral

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Castries Cathedral | Saint Lucia | Americas

[Visited: October 2011]

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.

Picture of Castries Cathedral (Saint Lucia): The cathedral of Castries with bell tower

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.

Picture of Castries Cathedral (Saint Lucia): The Holy family depicted in a mural inside the cathedral of Castries

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.

Picture of Castries Cathedral (Saint Lucia): Looking down the main aisle towards the altar inside the cathedral of Castries
Picture of Castries Cathedral (Saint Lucia): Window of the cathedral of Castries
Picture of Castries Cathedral (Saint Lucia): Black Mary depicted on a stained glass window in the cathedral of Castries
Picture of Castries Cathedral (Saint Lucia): Detail of the cathedral of Castries: a religious scene on a wooden panel
Picture of Castries Cathedral (Saint Lucia): Window with religious scene in stained glass
Picture of Castries Cathedral (Saint Lucia): Frontal view of the cathedral of Castries
Picture of Castries Cathedral (Saint Lucia): Wall painting in the cathedral of Castries
Picture of Castries Cathedral (Saint Lucia): Two colourful windows in the cathedral of Castries
Picture of Castries Cathedral (Saint Lucia): Looking at the entrance of Castries cathedral from the inside
Picture of Castries Cathedral (Saint Lucia): The main altar in the cathedral of Castries
Picture of Castries Cathedral (Saint Lucia): Statues of angels surrounded by candles and flowers in a corner of the cathedral

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