Though the Cathedral Basilica's Romanesque exterior is undoubtedly impressive, the interior of the cathedral is what is ... More
Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis
Though the Cathedral Basilica's Romanesque exterior is undoubtedly impressive, the interior of the cathedral is what is truly inspiring. The seat of the Catholic archdiocese in St. Louis, this massive complex contains a mosaic collection that is said to be the world's largest. Over the course of 76 years, 41.5 million pieces of glass tesserae were affixed to the walls and ceiling to illustrate numerous religious stories. The life story of King St. Louis IX, the city's namesake, is told in mosaic on the walls of the portico. Choir concerts are scheduled throughout the year, and choral programs and organ recitals take place on most Sunday afternoons. Check the website for more details.
I have never been to St Louis, and had not planned on going to the Cathedral. My niece told me to go see it, so at the last minute we decided to go by. It was the best part of the trip. I was amazed. It was absolutely beautiful and we were greeted by a volunteer who gave us history and facts. He was wonderful. I would return to St Louis, just to show my children this cathedral and I live in Texas (12 hour drive). I am still in awe....
I grew up in St. Louis (and Catholic) but moved away at the age of nineteen. However, I never go back to St. Louis without a visit to the Cathedral. Although I am not religious nor "church going", the magnificent artwork brings me back everytime. I make a point of taking anybody new to the area as well. This cathedral is magnificent and a sight to behold for anyone. I highly suggest it as a listing on your must see sights in the area. It is ablolutely breath taking everytime I see it. In fact, if you're looking for a wonder of the world, I think this qualifies. The Arch is wonderful, but this is the most beautiful sight in St. Louis.
Who knew we had such a marvel in America? It easily rivals anything I visited in Europe, even the Vatican. I had the opportunity to sing there while attending a music camp-what a treat! I lot of reverb, much like you'd expect.
The tile work and use of colorful natural stone leaves you dumb-founded. I can't remember seeing such a deep, rich shade of red used in any cathedral before seeing this Basilica. The organ is a manificent instrument and well worth attending services should be there on a Sunday. The surrounding neighborhood is so quaint-like something you'd expect from "Meet Me In St. Louis" with Judy Garland. Well maintained homes in period style.
Well worth working into your vacation plans if you're in the St. Louis area.
The collection of mosaics in this Cathedral rival those of any of the major churches in Europe inluding San Marco in Venice. This collection is superior to any I've seen in the United States. It is best to view the mosaics on a tour or at a time when a worship service is not in progress. This is a beautiful church. However, the cavernous nave is subject to echos and reverations that make hearing speech a bit difficult. It is a wonderful space for music especially when coming from the balcony at the rear of the church.
Yes, more than any single place in the world! So that means it is a "must see" if you are visiting St. Louis. Don't miss it!
The exterior structure is Romanesque. The interior decoration is Greek and Romanesque.
One or two of the side-chapels inside the church was designed by Tiffany.
If you visit on a Saturday, be aware that during the hour or so that a wedding takes, you may not be allowed to enter the main body of the church. If that is the case stick around and wait for the wedding to end. In the meantime, the church does have a museum and a gift shop.
I've never seen a travel article about St. Louis that mentions this Cathedral, even though it's more impressive than any I've seen in Europe! Perhaps, they don't want a flood of tourists coming through, since it's an active parish and parochial school. It's a little off the beaten track, though not far from downtown or the near suburbs of St. Louis. We toured on our own while the organist was rehearsing for a wedding and then visited the museum below ground level . On our next visit to St. Louis, we'll surely attend mass there.
If you're looking for something uplifting for both your physical and spiritual senses, the Basilica Cathedral of St. Louis is the place to go. I've been to many beautiful churches in the U.S. and Europe, both Catholic and Protestant, but the St. Louis Basilica definitely ranks as one of the best (if not the best). Every square foot of the space is detailed with amazing mosiacs telling the story of St. Louis IX and the stories of the Bible. Truly inspiring! Also, the 10:00am mass is worth planning to attend with its excellent choir and organ music. Get ready to be inspired!
We were members of this church for two years while in St. Louis. We actually lived in IL and chose to drive there every week for mass. It is the most beautiful church we've ever attended. The choir is heavenly and the priests take care to relate to your everyday lives. The tours are informational and recommended for first timers.
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