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Inside Albi Cathedral

The austere brick exterior of the 13th century Sainte-Cécile Basilica Cathedral of Albi (or Albi Cathedral) reveals nothing about its opulent interior with its painted vaulted ceiling and columns, the Gothic lacy stonework in the Choir, the exquisite rood screen, and the 15th century mural of the Last Judgment under the monumental organ by Christophe Moucherel.

The altar of the Church of the Canons within the Cathedral.

The Choir of the Canons is hidden behind the rood screen which divides the Cathedral in two.  It is decorated with a host of angels, the twelve apostles, the Virgin Mary, St. John the Baptist and St. Paul. The statue of Sainte Cecile, the patron saint of the Cathedral, is at the center of the screen below the crucifix. The figures of the emperors Charlemagne and Constantine face one another above the north and south entrances to the Choir.

The ambulatory around the Choir is decorated with carved figures from the Old Testament. Notice the painted columns.

The side altars in the Church of the Canons.

View of the ambulatory and the portal leading to the nave of the Cathedral.

Intricate filigree stonework in the Gothic style hidden behind the altar of the Church of the Canons.

The vaulted ceiling was painted by Italian artists in Italian Renaissance style over a blue background. The crucifix faces the nave of the Cathedral.

The rood screen is decorated in Flamboyant Gothic style.

Lancet windows filter light into the interior of the Cathedral. Albi Cathedral is the largest painted cathedral in Europe.

This 15th century mural of the Last Judgment covers both sides of the west wall of the nave. Painted by Franco-Flemish painters, it recalls the nightmarish painting of Hieronymus Bosch entitled Hell. Pride, one of the seven deadly sins, is featured on the left lower frame of the mural. The resurrection of the dead is on the right.

The Mappa Mundi is a representation of the world as perceived in the 8th century and is centered around the Mediterranean Sea. It is registered with the UNESCO Memory of the World Programme. This facsimile is in the Treasury of the Cathedral. The original is too fragile to be displayed.

The map shows Spain, France (Gallia), Italy, Jerusalem, Alexandria, Macedonia, Libya, Arabia, Carthage in Africa, Nomedia and Mauritania, Ethiopia, the islands of Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica and other regions and cities.

Massive brick walls and buttresses hint nothing about the opulence of the interior of the Cathedral. The baldaquin over the south porch was added in the 16th century.

The Virgin Mary and Child presides over elaborately decorated south portal of the Cathedral.

The Albi Cathedral is the largest brick cathedral in the world. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

How to get there from Toulouse
There are frequent train services between Toulouse and Albi. It's a short walk from Albi train station to the Cathedral.

Entrance fees:
Entrance to Cathedral is free. There is a fee to the Choir which include entry to the Treasury and an audio guide.


Images by TravelswithCharie

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