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Image 1 - The city of Brasilia, Oscar Niemeyer\\\'s ultramodern purpose-built capital of Brazil, is very unusual. It is a city of the future, or at least the future as it was wrongly foreseen in 1957. It is situated in the middle of nowhere and designed for cars. The buildings are spaced far apart, and linked by motorways, so it is impossible to walk around. The streets have no names, and the residential blocks all look much the same so it is easy to get lost. Some people claim that no one wants to live there, but the city is nevertheless thriving fifty years after its construction. Many of the buildings now look as grey as the half-century old concrete from which they were constructed. Brasilia is a museum to architectural folly although a few of the buildings are notable. One of these, at least for some people, is the cathedral.

The first thing visitors notice when approaching the cathedral is its apparent small size, although it is actually quite a large building. The structure is broadly circular and built in the form of a crown, but only the upper half is visible above ground level. A long flight of steps leads down below ground to the entrance and the cathedral\\\'s floor. However, once inside, the building is memorable. The dome is largely glass, so the interior has a pleasantly light and airy feeling.

This picture dates back some years to a time before the transparent glass was replaced by bold and modern stained-glass designs. However, the restored stained glass dome has apparently proved less that satisfactory because the panels of glass are falling out at a significant rate. The picture was taken with a hand-held camera because there was plenty of light available. I liked the converging concrete beams, the shadows on the floor and the suspended golden angels. All I had to do was wait until other visitors moved away from the altar and release the shutter.

 

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