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Are These The Ten Most Beautiful Ceilings On Earth?

Mar 23, 2016

Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire (Credit: Credit: Steve Vidler / Alamy Stock Photo)

Ely Cathedral, Cambridgeshire

Completed in 1334 by the royal carpenter William Hurley, the exquisite timber lantern over the central octagonal tower of Ely Cathedral is one of the greatest feats of medieval structural engineering and design. From the cathedral floor, the lantern appears like the centre of a great, eight-pointed star, with a carving of Christ in Glory at its centre. Constructed primarily from eight English oak trees, the 30ft-high lantern is supported by highly visible timber fan vaulting and by a hidden tent-like lattice of oak beams. Wooden panels – decorated with painted angels in the 19th Century – can be opened around the lantern. Choristers, serving as a heavenly choir, sang through these from the roof of the fenland cathedral. (Credit: Steve Vidler / Alamy Stock Photo)


Solna Centrum Metro Station, Stockholm (Credit: Credit: David Bertho / Alamy Stock Photo)

Solna Centrum Metro Station, Stockholm

By far the most alluring attraction of Stockholm's Solna Centrum shopping mall is the Blue Line Metro station that has served it since 1975. Artists Anders Åberg and Karl-Olov Björk painted the exposed bedrock of the underground concourse a thrilling and beautifully lit night-time red. Riding the escalators here is like being drawn into, or escaping from, some mythical sorcerer's cave. Since 1957 more artists than it would take to fill the carriage of a Metro train have conjured 94 of the network's 100 stations into memorable public artworks, justifying the widely quoted description of the 70-mile Stockholm Metro as "the world's longest art gallery". Perhaps only the Moscow Metro, mostly of an earlier era, rates alongside this remarkable achievement. (Credit: David Bertho / Alamy Stock Photo)


Grand Central Station, New York (Credit: Credit: Patrick Shyu / Alamy Stock Photo)

Grand Central Station, New York

For decades the zodiac ceiling of the imposing and much loved concourse of Grand Central was largely invisible. It was covered in thick layers of nicotine tar, the result of countless cigarettes smoked by generations of commuters making their way to the station's 67 platforms set below the imposing Beaux-Arts style building designed by Warren and Wetmore, and Reed and Stern. Based on medieval astronomical maps, it was painted by the French artist Paul César Helleu and New York's Charles Basing with a team of assistants. The signs of the zodiac were outlined in gold leaf on a blue-green backdrop evoking autumn and winter night skies of Greece and Southern Italy. The cleaned and restored ceiling was unveiled in 1998. (Credit: Patrick Shyu / Alamy Stock Photo)

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