Weird amuses me… and few things are weirder than a gargoyle. During the middle ages, no decent cathedral would be caught without them. In addition to piping water away from the building, they served as reminders to the faithful that evil lurked in the world, an evil that could only be overcome by attending church and donating money. Their cousins, grotesques, were also found on churches. Equally ugly and portentous, they didn’t carry water.
Whenever I get near a gargoyle or grotesque, I can’t help myself; I have to take its photo.
I have also found that fountains in Europe often host strange-looking beings. While the wealthy in pre modern times might have water piped into their homes, the common folks obtained their water from community fountains. Dubrovnik built an aqueduct system in the mid 1400s to bring water to the city and then located two public fountains on the Stradun: big Onofrio’s Fountain located near the Pile Gate and little Onofrio’s Fountain found next to the clock tower in Lutz Square.
Something I find even stranger than gargoyles, grotesques or fountain inhabitants are relics… bits and pieces of saints or other holy items kept around in reliquaries as items of worship. The Dubrovnik Cathedral has a particularly impressive set including a supposedly genuine piece of the Cross of Jesus, Baby Jesus’ swaddling clothes and various body parts of St. Blaise.
All of these items are reputedly capable of performing miracles and it is something of a miracle they exist. How they were obtained is usually rooted in the murky past. Pieces of the swaddling clothes were provided to women having difficult births. No matter how many pieces were cut out of the cloth, so it is said, the cloth returned to its original form.
NEXT BLOGS… Next week I will be travelling to Las Vegas to celebrate one of the Big O birthdays. That’s Big O as in Oh S****, I can’t believe I am this old. Anyway… I may opt out of blogging depending on the amount of time I play. If I do get up blogs they will be on the journey through the Nevada desert and the bright lights of the city. Did you know that Las Vegas is lit up with 15,000 miles of neon tubing? Peggy just read that in the Smithsonian Magazine. The following week I will be back with blogs about Venice and Burning Man 2013.