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St Bavo Catholic Cathedral

The St Bavo Cathedral

St Bavo coat of arms

The 'other' St Bavo in Haarlem - the Catholic Cathedral - is a rambling, disjointed, wonderful, Victorian basilica on the Leidsevaart canal, south-west of the city centre. Its green, copper dome is clearly visible from the busy Tempelierstraat.

Built mainly in brick, it dates from the early 20th century and has many Art Deco features. The main entrance side looks rather ordinary but a stroll round the perimeter reveals strange gargoyles and a cascade of towers seemingly heaped one on top of the other. These lead up to the magnificent green dome which is flanked by the two main towers. The cathedral is impressive during the day but spectacular at night when huge spotlights are trained on it and the illuminated dome shines in the night sky.

The church has a great musical tradition: it has its own prestigious Cathedral choir, 'hand-reared' at a nearby choir school. They regularly tour abroad and also sing on most Catholic feastdays, with accompaniment from the mighty cathedral pipe-organ. During the summer season, free organ recitals are given.

A unique collection of antique religious objects can be found in the Treasury, including chalices, altar books and clothing.