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Churches  Sainte-Marie - Oloron Cathedral
Description
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SAINTE MARIE CATHEDRAL

This romance cathedral, classified by the UNESCO like World-wide Heritage of the Mankind in 1999, was built by the bishop Roger of Sentes and Gaston IV the Crossed to his return of Jerusalén.
Of this period does not remain more than a wonderful portic because the cathedral was ignited  and, in several occasions, fell him rays by what had to be reconstructed of partial form and restored several times in Gothic style.
In his interior, is worth it to visit the Treasure with the original belén and the glorious priestly cloths of the 16th century.
However, there is not place to doubts, the jewel of this compact building, church fortress with towers of defence, is the romance portic of the 12th century conserved in mint condition thanks to the porch bell tower that protects it from the weather.

THE ROMANCE PORTIC

It is composed by a big eardrum finished by an shelf in the centre and two columns at the sides.

THE EARDRUM

Of white marble, represents a moving descent of the cross. In the centre José of Arimatea sustains the corpse of Cristo whose face seems sober.
To the right Nicodemo with huge claws removed the big nail that retains the left hand of Jesús. To his side, the apostle San Juan with the subject barefoot feet a hammer of carpenter and does a gesture horrified of despair.
To the left, a woman, definitely the Virgin, takes with his hands covered by a veil the right hand of Jesús. A second woman seems to escape the insoportable vision.
On of the cross pâté, that indicates an influence of Middle East, the sun and the moon watch  the face and participate also in the darkness of Good Friday.
A beautiful crismón serves as a pedestal for the cross.
The two small lateral eardrums, that lack a special interest, were redone in the 19th century.

THE SHELF

This central column conserves two atlantes chained from the waist until the ankles. On the contrary of what believed  till lately, these two prisoners would not be Muslims, but, rather, Jewish, crushed by the weight of the error after having refused the message of Cristh.

THE SEGMENTS

It seems to be that they were done by another sculptor, that goes back to leave his mark in Santa María de Uncastillo.

The upper segment represents to the elderly of the Apocalypse topped and that with his music instruments celebrate the glory of the Son of God that appears represented in the middle of them by the divine Lamb that attaches symbolically with the leg the cross.
The inferior segment represents to a crowd of characters that  toils preparing a feast; it is a beaten of hunting of wild boar; the unavoidable ; the pig slaughter, vintager; cooper; fishermen with enormous salmon to the backs; the preparation of the bread and the cheese; the peasant that slaughters a bird, short the ham, brings fruit or eggs...
Definitely, the feast that expects to the elected in the Realm of the Skies represented in stone so that the congregation, that in his majority did not know to read, could see it.

THE HIGH RELIEFS

On the elderly of the Apocalypse, to each side, two soldiers seem to observe a surprising show: maybe a missing resurrection in the 19th century.

THE STATUES

To the right of the segments, a statue ecuestre: a knight hit a man with the hooves of his horse; maybe  is Gaston IV the Crossed victorious over the muslims, or, rather, of the emperor Constantino victorious of the heathenism and protective of the Christians.

To the left, just in front of the victorious knight over the unfaithful  , finds  a frightening sculpture, an enormous lion devours to a man treats  of the punishment of the hell

A lot of questions without answer even for the historians whose interpretations diverge.


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Visits: the cathedral remains opened all the days of 8h to 19h30.

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