February 12, 2005
For the engineering minded
Bruges' Cathedral is a remarkable structure for many reasons, not least because it is built of brick, and that in the twelfth century! Bruge is built on sand and clay, for there is no natural stone nearby, so the early builders used brick. The cathedral is large - at least as big as the Abbey in floor area and possibly taller internally. But the tower is a remarkable construction.
The view up the tower from its base.
The Tower sits over the original church which dates back to Roman occupation. In its base are large glass panels set into the floor and through these can be seen Roman and later medieval tombs with decorated interiors. Nothing like giving the dead something nice to look at while they await the resurrection of the body!
Standing beneath the bell hole, one looks upward through successive vaults to the very top of the tower - and it is certainly an impressive height. Structurally there is no doubt that the builders were well aware of the limitations of brick in carrying such massive loads, and they have carefully designed this tower so that, as it grows higher, the walls are thinner and taper slightly, thus reducing the loading while increasing the strength.
Yet another fascinating place to visit!
Posted by The Gray Monk at February 12, 2005 08:49 AM