Christchurch city centre has started to open up again recently, although it’s still a rocky road and much of the central city remains cordoned and will do for quite some time.
I’ve spoken to a number of Christchurch businesses that have not been able to get back into their offices ever since the earthquake back in February. Over two months ago.
Speaking with other city centre business owners is unique – you share a common bond of hardship and difficult times. There’s a sense that no one else can truly understand what your business is going through at this time and an underlying feeling that if another business owner asked for help, you’d jump at the chance to assist them.
However, this post isn’t about the on-going war that Christchurch business owners are fighting against those that control the cordons, it’s simply about an honest heritage building that’s facing its darkest days: The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament.
Photos of the Earthquake Damaged Cathedral
As soon as Barbadoes Street opened, I went for a walk around the Cathedral (note that this isn’t the Christ Church Cathedral of Christchurch but another Catholic Cathedral) and had a good look at the incredible cracks that run through this building’s massive walls.
The blocks that make up this building are very large and must weigh an impressive amount. The cars that were parked underneath didn’t stand a chance. I can make out a white car under a pile of blocks and I can only assume that the grey metal panel that sticks out of a pile on the other side is also from a vehicle, although it’s pretty hard to tell.
There are giant cranes parked around the building so I guess work is being carried out to restore it, although I’m sure it’s a case of one step forward, two steps back with the continuing aftershocks that keep hitting the city.
The Cathedral used to have three green domes on top of its towers – two smaller ones at the front and a large one at the rear. The rear dome is the only one remaining as the front two have been removed due to the pressure they were placing on the cracked walls below them.
The rear dome itself still rests on walls that have incredible cracks through them. It’s hard to make out the perspective in the photos but those blocks are much larger than standard building blocks.
All of the damage is symbolised by the tilting cross that is a feature of the front of the basilica.
The words in Latin read ‘Ecce Tabernaculum Dei Cum Hominibus’ which translates to ‘Behold, Look, here God lives among us!’.
For more information, photos and fact sheets on the Cathedral, check out the ‘Catholic Diocese of Christchurch‘ website.