Beautifully Ornate

I remember that trip as if it were yesterday.  I was sixteen years old traveling by myself to a foreign country. I boarded a plan in Chicago bound for Frankfurt, Germany, where relatives I barely knew picked me up at the airport.  That summer was an enlightening adventure beyond my expectations and was also responsible for piquing my interest in architecture.

Photo-Cologne Tourism

Photo-Cologne Tourism

The sight of the Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral) in Köln, Germany, had my jaw dropping in awe.  Viewing photos of this magnificent structure continues to have the same awe-inspiring effect on me to this day.  It seems, I continue to be drawn to beautiful and ornate churches, and can’t pass up an opportunity to photograph these architectural marvels.

Although, I haven’t seen anything as ornate and stunning as the Kölner Dom, I have encountered other unique structures, that are equally beautiful in their own right.

Last winter while visiting Tucson, Arizona, I found myself stopping by Mission San Xavier del Bac several times.  With each visit, I discovered more unique and ornate details.

Mission San Xavier del Bac

Mission San Xavier del Bac

 intricate and ornate

intricate and ornate

Last summer while hanging around Denver, Colorado, I made several visits to the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception.  The moment we drove by this structure, I knew I had to stop and explore.

Cathedral Basilica, Denver, Colorado

Cathedral Basilica, Denver, Colorado

Inside Cathedral Basilica

Inside Cathedral Basilica

But there was one church on my bucket list that I just had to see.  Perhaps it’s the home builder in me or my spiritual beliefs ….. regardless, the Loretta Chapel and its Miraculous staircase was a must see for me during a Santa Fe, New Mexico visit.

Inside the Loretta Chapel - miraculous staircase

Inside the Loretta Chapel and the miraculous staircase

Loretta Chapel

Loretta Chapel

Loretta Chapel

Loretta Chapel

I’m sure as we continue to travel, my ongoing quest to seek out these spiritual and architectural beauties will continue 🙂

This post was written in response to the WordPress Photo Challenge – Ornate.

M71-858 Micro-piece Cologne Cathedral Moonlight 1000

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58 thoughts on “Beautifully Ornate

  1. Such wonderful, wonderful architecture! I too love these types of churches and really appreciate all the work that has gone into building them. I have really been admiring your photos. Should you ever find yourself in Norway you should stop by Trondheim where you will find Nidarosdomen, I have a feeling you would like it:)

    • Thank you Inger. I appreciate the compliment. My husband has relatives in Norway, so perhaps one day we may need to visit. The photos my in-laws took while on a visit to Norway depicted stunning scenery.

  2. If I ever revisit Germany, I would make sure to highly consider Cologne Cathedral. I often think about how well other people retain memories of places they visit on their early years. With your post, it shows that it doesn’t really hurt to start exploring places even at an early age. Of course, the more beautiful or interesting the place is, the more memorable it is.
    I love Europe for the architectural and historical places. I personally couldn’t level with the ones in the US. Just being honest. There are exceptions, of course. I do find that, plenty of times, most of the gems are found inside the buildings. 🙂

    • Totally agree that the history and architecture in Europe is top notch, but then again they’ve got quite a few more years of history than the youthful U.S. of A. 🙂

  3. These are great! What beautiful buildings. I’d love to run up and down that staircase, but since that wouldn’t be very respectful, I promise that if I ever go to the Loretta Chapel, I’ll limit myself to just taking photographs (although not as nice ones as yours, I’m certain). 🙂

  4. Ingrid…. great story! When I was sixteen I had a paper route saving for a $75 car. Kiss those lucky stars of yours… travel can get into your blood early. Me? A trip to the Far East courtesy of my tri-colored goat-teed Uncle did it for me. And I haven’t stopped. Again… great story!


  5. I love old architecture! One of the saddest events in the US was instituting urban renewal. I understand that sometimes it is too costly to renovate…but why did they have to take the beauty and art out of building? So many stories…so much history and craftsmanship…gone! Harumph!

  6. Although I haven’t been to Germany yet, I have been to Mission San Xavier del Bac in Tucson, Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver, and the Loretta Chapel in Santa Fe. During our year in Mexico one of my favorite pastimes was visiting the many beautiful churches in in the town squares.

    • I know you would love Europe and the stunning architecture. Looking back, I wish I had spent more time touring castles and churches instead of frivolously touring shops… ah, typical young gal with more of an interest in shopping than history. My how life changes 😉

      • We are tentatively planning to take a trip to Europe next fall. We shall see if plans change between now and then. It is interesting to watch our journeys unfold, with all their twists and turns.

    • The old and historic architecture found in Europe is amazing, but I’ve been having fun discovering some unique beauties in this country.

    • Thank you Meghan. You should definitely stop in at Santa Fe. The architecture is so vastly different than most places in this country and there are some super old structures with fascinating history.

    • The staircase is quite a marvel to see and for anyone with a construction or engineering background, it’s perplexing. A lot of interesting sights in Santa Fe.

  7. Beautiful pictures of the churches, though I don’t know much about architecture I enjoy the beauty of it. At 16 I rode the Greyhound bus from NYC to IL alone, times have changed…

    • Thanks Faye. Times have definitely changed. When my daughter did a semester in Sydney, I finally understood my mom’s stress and dismay with my sojourn.

  8. We’re in Santa Fe right now — it’s one of my all-time favorites for art and architecture. The Mission San Xavier del Bac is definitely on my list for our next time in Tucson — I remember when you visited and took those lovely photos.

    • There are so many great sites to visit in Santa Fe. Hopefully you aren’t encountering any cold and snow yet. Although during our visit which was in Feb. a couple of years ago, we endured freezing temps and snow. Upside, very few tourists out and about. Enjoy Santa Fe and Mission San Xavier is definitely worth a stop on your next time through Tucson.

  9. Just beautiful. That last one in New Mexico is amazing. I could have spent hours at the mission in Tucson. We had to leave because of a wedding.

    • I did end up spending hours if you add up my 3 separate visits LOL. The Arizona sky likes to put on it’s own unique performance adding to the ambiance and feel of the Mission. Too bad you weren’t able to stay very long.

    • Thanks Anne. Seems like you are having a ton of fun playing around with that new camera of yours. The Mission AND the Sonoran Desert Museum provide plenty of photographic material 😉

  10. I enjoyed your ornate building photos, Ingrid. I espec. like the photos of the Tucson Mission–really captured the essence of the mission, the environment, and the big AZ skies.

    • Those Arizona skies do make for a fantastic backdrop. The Mission was a joy to photograph especially as the light changed with the time of day.

  11. I don’t think I will be able to admire Kölner Dom anytime soon. But and since I will be in Tucson in January I will visit Mission San Xavier del Bac which I skipped during my last visit.
    What a brave sweet 16 you were, travelling alone and in a foreign country.

    • I don’t know about brave, more like clueless at 16 LOL. Definitely visit Mission San Xavier. I got my best photos early a.m. and again an hour before sunset. They hold Mass Saturday evenings and I stayed for part of it (Hubby got impatient).

  12. Nice job with the challenge. Those are beautiful examples of ornate architecture. I especially love the Mission San Xavier. Glad to see your post Ingrid!

  13. You’ll have to find a way to visit France, SO MANY ornate cathedrals! and castles! Here’s a few photos I took while there almost 2 years ago, to wet your appetite . . .

    • Oh no, don’t tempt me!!! My daughter keeps talking about a mother/daughter European excursion. Should that trip ever come to fruition, I’m sure there will be lots of Cathedral visits.

  14. We have visited all but the Cathedral Basilica. I absolutely love visiting these wondrous buildings. You were quite the lady at 16!

    • Amazing architecture that I never seem to get tired of. The Cathedral Basilica in Denver reminded me of a mini Cologne Cathedral. Perhaps it’s the two spire design.

    • You welcome. A trip to Santa Fe is a must. There’s so many unique buildings and architecture dating waaay back. A European tour of Cathedrals and Castles would definitely perk my interest.

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