Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island, with just under 400k inhabitants.
The scars from the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes are still visible in the city center:
The ChristChurch Cathedral, erected in the beginning of the last century, was one of the historical buildings severely affected by the tremors:
While a long-term replacement is defined, a transitional facility was built across Latimer Square:
Commonly known as “The Cardboard Cathedral” (the official name being “Transitional Cathedral”), it was built in a clever, mechanically efficient structure, using tubes made of – you guessed it – cardboard (dully treated for strength and durability):
The mosaic in the front was built with modern translucid material, based on images from the original cathedral’s main one:
Raquel, with her like for keyboards, was particularly interested in the Cathedral’s organ – a recent model which probably speaks closer to her heart:
From there, we walked along Latimer Square – one of the many within and around downtown …
… on to a large open-air, public playground …
… which the kids enjoyed thoroughly:
The walk went on, taking us to Cathedral Square (where the old Cathedral is located), where the prominent Chalice – a sculpture installed in 2010 and which resisted the earthquakes – represents 42 of the main plants of New Zealand:
There, a large-scale chess game drew the kids’ attention for a while …
Whereas ours (the adults’ attention) was oriented towards the many huge murals which adorn some of the building’s facades:
Christchurch is an artsy town, and even the pattern of the tram’s rail against the block paving seems to have been made with attention to aesthetics:
The tram is mostly for touristic purposes, circling the city center from the modern buildings of High Street …
… and the heritage shop houses of New Regent Street …
… highlighting the contrasts between the Modern and Incumbent on this historic city, a contrast forced by nature and which forged the strong character and personality of this place.
Two days was not enough, and we left Christchurch with a craving to see and enjoy more of its charm.
But for the time being, we had more places to go.