If you are religious, and for some reason you want to enter a different church every -let’s say- 30 minutes, assuming you have a car, the Flanders would be the place to be. Where ever you are in the Northern part of Belgium, if you leave a town or a village and you look around, you see at least 1 but probably a lot more church towers on the horizon. Some of them are exceptionally nice like this one in Kanegem :
others are exceptionally ugly like this one in Nevele :
Mostly they are something in between. Just a church, one of many. But every little town has one, that is certain. There are a lot more churches then there are priests : that is a fact. Some churches only give one service a weekend as the priest has 3 or more churches to serve in 2 days.
In the cities the situation is quite similar, although mostly there the churches are bigger, nicer, richer then in many small town. Many cities have one or even more cathedrals. Hearing, or rather not hearing the church bells on a sunday is something that always struck me here, and I rather miss it. Although -even in Belgium- the bells don’t ring every (half an) hour as they used to; before high mass on sunday or when somebody gets married the bells ring as if there is a big party going on, and when there is a funeral, there is a slow, depressing, but still serene chiming to announce mourning.
In some places like in Antwerp they even give ‘beiaard’ concerts, (carillon) which is a kind of sophisticated church bell concert, every monday evening during summer.
(in case you are traveling to Belgium for this summer, check out the dates of the concerts in the different cities here)
(Cathedral of Antwerp)
Although Argentina is as catholic as Belgium (used to be), there are very few churches. At least that is what I thought at first. The churches are smaller, newer, and less grand, that’s for sure! Not many will give you the Whaw!-effect many Flemish medeavial ones will. Exept -for sure- the church of Pilar (Recoleta), which is my absolute favorite.
But the more I take the time to actually look around and stop by the churches, mostly stuck in-between the buildings and houses, almost invisible, often closed, I am surprised. Today I took the time to check out this one in las Heras, the Parroquia de San Agustin… (see photo on top and below). You can see for yourself.
(natural sunlight through the colored glass window)
2 responses to “1001 churches…”
Whilst not being THAT religious, truly wonderful buildings like those are a welcome sight and, mea culpa, do really boost one’s normally wavering faith (which is really wrong, but that is a discussion for some other place and time, lol)
I went to Flanders (more specifically Antwerp) once, and what amased me most than any other thing, now that we are talking about the religious theme, was the number of jews there where there. They even had their own district, where you couldn’t find out a single soul on saturday. I have been told they have a centuries-long monopoly on the diamond business.
That is true, there is quite a big (orthodox) Jewish community, they have always been in Antwerp (well, for centuries anyway). The (world) diamond trade goes through them.