Iglesia San Nicolas De Bari

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Iglesia San Nicolas de Bari Lights and organ simultaneously blaze into existence. The music was warm. It drifted throughout the church like smoke, elegantly twirling around statues, past glowing stained glass, and into the elaborate dome overhead.

It was a seven o’clock Friday evening mass at Inglesia San Nicolas De Bari, in Buenos Aires. The people trickled in casually. The room was divided into three large isles by two rows of eighteen pews. They were each stained dark, with golden, fist-sized cherub heads greeting at both entrances. The people standing along the back wall were primarily younger and most had given their seats to those in need.

The floor was marble, rock white and polished grey. There was a simple symmetrical arrangement. Like wrinkles, the rock showed its age and wisdom with dark cracks that gracefully blended beneath the feet of the congregation.

The walls were plain to the base of the mosaics. The mosaics were a vibrant orchestration of postage stamp sized tiles. The combination of flawless seams and brilliant craftsmanship resulted in harmony that could be mistaken for oil paintings from a distance. The arrangements varied in size, from ten foot squares to fifteen by twenty five foot rectangles.

The molding and cast figures became more and more complex as eyes wandered further towards the ceiling seventy feet over head. The stained glass glimmered beautifully, but the texture of the walls and ceiling distracted one’s vision from their pleasant luminescence.

The dome’s apex was one hundred feet over the room’s center. The thick repetition of pattern resulted in an optical trick that gave it a convex appearance and stirred one’s head to dizziness.

The service was a predictable catholic service. The coughing busses on Avenida de Santa Fe however, fought the beauty of the scene. Inglesia San Nicolas de Bari is such an architectural and artistic display it seemed unfair to battle the interference of a busy city street within its atmosphere. The doors may be too large to open and shut for all late comers, and as a result the street’s bustle spills into the church.  Sundays are probably far more placid, due to a less traveled Avenida Santa Fe.

The Inglesia San Nicolas de Bari is easily accessible and worth a visit. It is located between 1300 and 1400 on Santa Fe near Calle Uruguay. It melds neatly into its surroundings so keep a watchful eye. Whether you are joining locals at mass or simply observing before passing by, take a seat, allow your eyes to wander, and enjoy.

Iglesia San Nicolas de Bari
1352 Avenida Santa Fe, Buenos Aires

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