Welcome, welcome. Please keep your voices down and your eyes up as I take you on a tour of this beautiful church. Everything within these walls is, of course, designed with Christ in mind. That may seem strange to have something as monstrous as me talk about something as beautiful as this, but there's a reason. What? What are you looking at? Have you never seen stone talk before?
You may be wondering why the whole church is made of stone. Well, all the old churches were made of wood and they burned down or fell apart over the years. Clearly, I do not need to worry about fire. Gothic is a way of building in Medieval western Europe from the 12th to 16th centuries. The word comes from the Germans, and some of the parts of the churches (like the pointed arches), come from the Middle East. These churches are also much bigger than the ones that came before them. Try not to walk away from our group. I cannot promise you will not get lost. Just kidding. Maybe.
Many people hear the word "Gothic" and think dark and scary, but as you see by our many large windows, we have a lot of sunlight coming in. Architecture is the art of designing buildings. You may have seen that the arches in this church come to sharp points. Do not worry. Only the birds have to worry about being poked by those. Outside, you can also see the flying buttresses, those large stones that hold up arches that go to the outer wall. High above, you will see the ribbed vaults, as if the ceiling were in the bottom of a ship . . . or the ribs of a whale. Do not worry. This church will not swallow you whole. But I might, if you don't stay with us.
This church is, of course, a place of worship. A cathedral is the largest church in a group of churches and is run by a bishop. My boss. If he weren't here, then this would only be a church, but because he is here, this place is much more important. Many of the cathedrals in the world are right here in Europe. But, as I already told you, only the ones built of stone lasted a long time because it was much harder for them to catch fire. No, sir, that does not mean you can smoke in here.
Any questions? You know what? Before you ask, I will go ahead and answer the one question everyone asks. Why the pointy ears? Why the small body? Why the hands like an eagle's claws and fangs like that of a lion? Why is my mouth always hanging open? Why am I made of stone? I am a gargoyle, a stone carving of a monster that is meant to scare away evil spirits. That isn't my only job though. When not giving tours, I sit on the gutter and drain water off of the cathedral's roof from my open mouth. My name comes from the word "gargle." Scaring and spitting. That's my job. Are any of you evil spirits? No? Good. If you leave gum on the pews, I will know if you are.
I hope you have enjoyed seeing this Gothic cathedral. This large church is known for its pointed arches and its many large windows. You might not think to see monsters sitting above all of the crosses and pictures of Christ, but the church made things like me to scare away evil spirits and drain water off of the roof. Please feel free to look at all of the carvings on the outside of the building on your way out. One guest once said that the outside looked like a castle made of frosting . . . I ate him. I expect nothing but respect for my church. And that is the end of our tour.
Khan Academy. "Gothic Architecture: An Introduction" Khan Academy, 2011. <https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/medieval-world/latin-western-europe/gothic1/a/gothic-architec...>
History for Kids. "Gothic Architecture" historyforkids.org, 2013. <http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/medieval/architecture/gothic.htm>History for Kids. "Early Gothic Architecture" historyforkids.org, 2013. <http://www.historyforkids.org/learn/medieval/architecture/earlygothic.htm>