Our second stop of the day was the city of Amiens. We visited the largest Gothic cathedral that has remained standing over the years. We thought the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris was big, but this cathedral, in Father Ed's words, "makes Notre Dame look like a small country church." And he was right! This church is three times the size of Notre Dame! The construction of the cathedral of Amiens was started in the early 13th century, and the final spire was placed on top in the mid-16th century! The architecture of the church is so elaborate and exquisite it's no wonder it took so long to completely finish!
My favorite "factoid" of the day was how the architects were able to save the church from collapsing when cracks starting forming inside the walls. They figured out that one of the flying buttresses, which are essential in holding up such a massive structure, was off by six inches, which was causing the walls to crack.
In order to fix the problem, the architects decided to create a balcony and underneath the balcony, running along the whole circumference of the church, they cast an iron "rubber band." They would heat up iron chains and place them within the walls and when the iron would cool, it contracted and tightened, which was able to hold up the walls of the cathedral from the inside. I just think it's so amazing how smart and creative people were back then to be able to build and conserve huge, extravagant structures like this without the technology we have today.
I can't wait to see what Amsterdam has in store for us. Get ready Amsterdam! Here we come!