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St Paul's Cathedral

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Vigan Cathedral (also known as St Paul's Metropolitan Cathedral) is an imposing creamy-white building built in the "earthquake baroque" style with thick buttresses to support it through earthquakes and typhoons. It faces Plaza Salcedo on one side and Plaza Burgos on another.

Vigan Cathedral and (on the right) its bell tower

A separate belltower (or belfry) was built 15 meters away from the main building (it actually stands in another plaza, Plaza Burgos) -- so that if one structure was destroyed in an earthquake, then the other might still remain standing. The belltower is about 25 meters high and it is surmounted by a large bronze weathercock that is said to symbolize St Peter.

Inside you will see an impressive altar surrounded with hammered-silver panels.

The influence of Vigan's Chinese residents on the design of the cathedral may be seen in the two fu dogs carved on the facade above the outer doors, in the Chinese-made brass communion rails and in the octagonal shape of the belltower.

The first church was built on this site in 1574 (by Juan de Salcedo) and was damaged in the earthquakes of 1619 and 1627. A second was built here in 1641; and the present baroque-style church was completed in 1800.

Adjacent to the cathedral is the Archbishop's Palace.

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Author: David Paul Wagner
(David Paul Wagner on Google+)

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