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Amiens Cathedral. ©NHK 1970
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Amiens Cathedral

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Language(s): English

Summary/Historical Context

Amiens Cathedral in north-western France is a Gothic masterpiece built before Notre Dame Cathedral. It is richly adorned with impressive sculptural décor. These sculptures depict biblical scenes such as the Creation, Adam and Eve, the life of Jesus and the Virgin Mary. They are collectively called "The Stone Encyclopaedia of the Bible". There are Sculptures of the Last Judgement on the main façade. The Archangel St. Michael is holding a balance. Above him Jesus is peering down at the sins of those entering the Cathedral. Below him are people who are to be sent to Hell after the Last Judgement. Those who are to ascend to Heaven are on the left. The Cathedral interior is built so that people can feel the magnificence of the divine world. The ceiling is 42 meters high.

Amiens Cathedral also houses a sacred relic from Jerusalem. This is the skull of the John the Baptist who baptised Jesus Christ. A road to God has been drawn on the Cathedral floor. It is a Sacred Maze. People would wander, stray and get lost until they reached the centre of the maze, a sacred place. The maze represents a long pilgrimage. Amiens Cathedral took 68 years to complete, an amazing feat for the time. The various parts of the sculptures decorating the Cathedral were made in many different workshops. The idea of distributing work that way was unheard of at the time.

Amiens Cathedral is a stunning example of Gothic architecture, a monument to the skills and techniques of the period.

Place/Country: France
Series: NHK World Heritage 100
Type: Documentary
Credits: NHK, producer. UNESCO WHC, co-producer ; UNESCO TV, co-producer.

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