Admiring the Creative Use of Building Materials at the Cathedral in Paramaribo, Suriname
Close your eyes and imagine yourself standing inside a gigantic cigar box. In 1883, the constructors of what is now the Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral carpentered the entire interior with unpainted cedar wood, a material more frequently associated with the distinctive smell of simple cigar boxes. The cathedral's solid-looking pillars supporting the roof are hollow-sounding when you knock on them. Basralocus, the only local wood strong and tall enough to support the 16-meter-high structure, is thin, so for cosmetic reasons the pillars were encased in cedar wood planks to create the illusion of more solid and substantial columns. At the time, Suriname was a Dutch, protestant colony. Monsignor Schaap wanted to win over the freed and runaway slaves to his young Catholic congregation and, thus, commissioned the Maroons to do all of the woodcarving assignments. Among the designs are decorations of palm trees that represent God's eternal love as well as the intricate beauty of the tropics. Photo: Coen Wubbels
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