Parish church of Our Lady of the Assumption, Valdemoro, Madrid

The parish church of Our Lady of the Assumption is located in Valdemoro, Madrid. It is Baroque and was built in the second half of the seventeenth century on the remains of former buildings and is considered the most important monument of the complex of buildings of the municipality. It has a central nave of 60 m long and 28 m wide, with eight side chapels on each side. There are three entrances, one located west of the nave, with three arches and two square towers. The tower was completed in 1764 and its bell tower has four bronze bells; its pink color is due to the recent reform that was made. The exterior walls are made of brick and stone. In the main altar there is a painting by Francisco de Goya: the Apparition of the Virgin to St-Julien, bishop of Cuenca, with two other paintings, The Assumption by Francisco Bayeu and St. Peter Martyr by Ramon Bayeu. We also find two other paintings by Claudio Coello and several frescoes by Antonio Van Pere. The parish has an important archive with documents dating from the fifteenth century. The organ is from 1737.

Tips

 
The parish functions as such and the calendar of the masses are available on its website.

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Basilica of the Nativity, Bethlehem, West Bank, Palestine

The Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank, Palestine, built in the fourth century (327-333) by the Roman Emperor Constantine 1st, is one of the oldest churches in the world, built on the presumed site of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. The current basilica was rebuilt in its present form in 565 by Emperor Justinian who erected a larger building by extending the nave and adding transepts. It suffered several conservation issues and changes through the years and also many restorations but its current state needs immediate handling and catering. Currently, it is administered jointly by the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem (which has the main part of the basilica and also the altar of the Nativity in the cave), the Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church (who owns the silver star beneath the altar of the Nativity). The fanatical rivalry on the spatial and temporal control of the sanctuary because of the conflicts erupt in the most serious solemn ceremonies involving the simultaneous participation of several churches. In the Place of the Nativity, you find the bell tower of the Armenian monastery in the foreground and the bell tower of the Greek Orthodox monastery in the background. The basilica is part of a large monumental complex that covers almost 12,000 square feet which includes the Latin monasteries (north), Greek Orthodox (southeast, the cemetery along the south aisle of the basilica), Armenian (south- west) and St. Catherine of Alexandria Catholic church with chapels and hotels nearby to accommodate the pilgrims. The current basilica architectural ensemble is a combination of two churches and a crypt – the grotto of the Nativity – where Jesus was born, according to tradition. It includes just a gateway, the Door of Humility, which originally was much larger but it has been reduced along the years. The key to the door is in the hands of the Orthodox that open at dawn and close twenty minutes before sunset. The church plan is that of a classical Roman basilica. Inside there are pink limestone of Bethlehem, white marble, many frescoes, Byzantine mosaics, eternal hanging lamps, details that also show various different religions and cultures that have passed through the years. The stairs on either side of the sanctuary provide access to the Grotto by irregular steps.

 
Tips

Believers gather on Christmas Eve in Manger Square to sing Christmas carols until midnight mass but it takes place at different dates according to the beliefs.
In one of the columns inside, you’ll find four holes in a cross where visitors have the habit of placing their fingers because according to the belief, Mary laid her hand so the wishes from their prayers to the Virgin, could be realized.

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Cathedral of Saint Sebastien, Presidente Prudente, São Paulo, Brazil

The Cathedral of Saint Sebastien de Presidente Prudente (municipality in the State of São Paulo, Brazil) is located in front of the square July 9th on the Avenue Coronel José Soares Marconde. The Cathedral was an old dream of the Vicar of Presidente Prudente, José Maria Martínez Sarrión. So, in 1927, he decided to create a commission to collect funds, formed by members of important families at the time: Armelin, Tenorio de Barros, Peretti, Toledo, Franco de Godoy among others.
The plan of the church was done by Francisco Oroz, the construction was realized and interpreted by Francisco Grotto and idealized by Luiz Mesquita. The curious thing is in the design that was in the form of a cross. Work began two years after the commission had been formed. Completed in 1949, the church became the referential point and pride of the city. The work was also done wishing it would become the seat of the diocese, which took place in 1961. It is 558km far away from the capital of the State of São Paulo.

Tips

The Cathedral is open everyday from 8:00 to 20:00 except Mondays (closed.
Don’t forget your camera; for the best images with natural light, make your visit between 8 h 00 and 17 h 00. The images are full of color and with the light of day, you will enjoy all this beauty of colors that will surprise you.
If you suffer with high temperatures, go early or later when the sun is going down because in the morning you have temperatures of 22-24 degrees but during the day, it can go up to 40-44 degrees.
Monsignor José María Martínez Sarrión’s relics lie in the Cathedral.

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