Thursday 7 April 2011: The Dome of the Basilica
This is the Catholic Cathedral (before earthquake) in Christchurch. When I was young I lived quite close to it and saw it every day. I grew to love its classical lines, the towers, the columns and the domes. Of all the ruined buildings in the city this one gives me the most pain. I just had to go and see it for myself. Even though I'd seen photos of it I was not prepared for the shock of seeing the collapsed towers and the rubble.
The big dome is in a very precarious situation. The walls supporting it are threatening to give way and nothing can be done to the structure until it is removed. The engineers are assessing it in preparation.
The three domes were coppered by my children's great-grandfather.
More detail in large.
Edit: Here are other photos I took of the earthquake damage.
The front of the cathedral and the collapsed right-hand tower.
The partially collapsed bell tower. This shot is similar to the before shot in the link above.
A close-up of the fallen bell housing. You can see two of the bells still strapped to the beams.
The damage to the supporting walls of the big dome.
The wonky Hotel Grand Chancellor, which I have written of before.