Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cloisters Museum, New York City

photo by Terraxplorer

The Cloisters Museum is one of my favorite places in New York City.  

In a castle-like building perched high on a wooded hill overlooking the Hudson River, it seems ages away from the crazed, chaotic city. 

Venturing inside is truly like entering another age...the Middle Ages!

The museum was built by the Rockefeller family in 1928 to house an extensive collection of European medieval art and artifacts, including large sections of stone walls, monuments and columns from cloisters in Europe. These enclose gardens planted with herbs and fruits that would have been cultivated in monastery gardens during medieval times.

The sound of vespers floats through the galleries. 
Butterflies dance around the quince trees in the walled garden. 
The garden terrace high on the hill overlooks a serene vista of a calm Hudson River and an undeveloped, forested wilderness on the opposite riverbank.  

Here in the middle of one of the densest, most crowded cities in the world, is a sense of tranquility and timelessness.

At this spot in Manhattan, it is possible to slip into quiet contemplation and peaceful prayer, as the devoutly religious did in medieval times.

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