Cathedral of Christ the Savior, Avila, Castilla y León, Spain

The Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Avila, the first Gothic cathedral in Spain, is the bishopric of the same name, in Castilla y León. It was designed as a temple and fortress, its apse being one of the hubs of the city wall. It is located alongside several houses or majestic palaces which ensured the defense of the Loyal Door or the Weight of the Flour. It is not known with certainty the date on which it was built, but most historians say it was in the twelfth century with the completion in the XVI century, except for a tower that has not been completed. The back of the choir is limestone and it is very large. We find a French influence with a resemblance to the Basilica of Saint-Denis. Outside, it is fortified, but inside its double ambulatory with thin columns and arches give it an impression of lightness and clarity, also with a very good light. The three naves are of equal width, but the central one is significantly higher, and opens with large windows to the outside. There are the remains of the penultimate historian and prime minister of the Second Republic in exile, Claudio Sanchez Albornoz and those of the Spanish President Adolfo Suarez (1977-1981) and his wife.

Tips

The cathedral is open daily, but you should consult the daily schedule.
You have to pay an entrance fee for sightseeing, but children under 12 years old and people with disabilities do not pay.

St. Joseph’s Oratory, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

St. Joseph’s Oratory is the largest church in Canada, located on the northwest flank of Mount Royal in Montreal. The secondary element of the site is the Catholic basilica whose dimensions, its cross and the dome (60 m high and 39 m in diameter) are remarkable. The place has gardens where you can take a holy path with several sculptures that represent the Passion of Christ. Brother André took the initiative for its construction which started through donations and in 1904 a small modest chapel dedicated to St. Joseph, was inaugurated but it could not contain all the faithful while its doors were open and the faithful were praying outside so they decided to expand the place and the same was extended twice for the present appearance that can accommodate 1,000 people. The walls are covered with silver granite and the dome is covered with copper. There are several sculptures, paintings, stained glass windows, a chime and a large important organ. There are 283 steps to climb to the oratory and nearly a hundred are in wood for pilgrims who want to get it on his knees. Outside the church there is the Chapel of Brother André that is also his grave. He was beatified in 1982 by Pope John Paul II. Father André was known to receive sick people and heal them through his prayers to St. Joseph so there is a chapel where you’ll see the canes, prostheses, corsets, etc., which left the sick who felt healed.

Tips

At Christmas time, you can visit a part of a collection of more than 900 nativity scenes in the Oratory Museum.
The heart of Brother André is exposed behind a wrought iron gate in the exhibit room dedicated to his life and his work.

The Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral, Tallinn, Estonia

The Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral is located in the historic center of Tallinn, Estonia. It was built between 1895 and 1900 at the time when the Russian presence was in the country. This is the work of the architect Michael Préobrajensky. Dedicated to St. Alexander Nevsky, the interior can hold 1500 faithful and there is an iconostasis, several icons and many stained glass windows. On the outside there are Frolov mosaic panels and there are eleven bells, the largest of which weighs 15 tons. It was almost demolished at the end of the First World War when Estonia gained its independence but since there were many Russian refugees in the country, they decided to leave the building for their cult. In 1941, it was closed by the German authorities who invaded Estonia and was reopened at the end of the war.

Tips

The entrance to visit the cathedral is free but you can not take pictures or make videos inside.

On Sundays, there is a mass that lasts all day and tourists are admitted. You can enter and go out at any time of the mass.