Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Local treasure known around the world . . .

Just a few short weeks ago I told you about my visit to the Mapparium on the grounds of the First Church of Christ, Scientist here in Boston. Today, I visited the "Mother Church" that draws visitors from around the globe. The tour included a view of the original edifice completed in 1894 (which seats approx. 1000 people) as well as the Mother Church Extension, completed in June 1906 (which seats 3500 people). Some of the other staggering numbers are the pipe count on the major organ, the 7th largest in the world, which boasts 13,290 pipes (only 377 of which are visible).

The newest addition to the grounds is a small meditation park and fountain that borders on Massachusetts Avenue. If you live in Boston and haven't visited the grounds, be sure to go inside. Yes, the reflecting pond and the Christian Science Plaza designed by I.M. Pei & Partners and Araldo Cossutta Associated Architects in the 70s are compelling and frequently visited landmarks, but be sure to step inside the Mother Church, take a deep breath and enjoy the 108 foot high interior Byzantine dome. Because it is supported by two semi-domes on either side, the main dome, with its 90 foot diameter, allows for unobstructed views from anywhere in the church.

The details (above) from the ladies room in the library section are worthy of their own slide show but for today, here are a few shots along with some of the stained glass windows (below) from the 1894 original edifice.

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