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Monday, February 21, 2011

TRAVEL & INSIDE SL - Churches in SL - Shon Charisma Reporting

Fort Augustus Abbey on Loch Ness
Link to Real-Life Abbey

I like to visit places. It's a big part of what I do in Second Life. Can't get to Paris in real life? Check it out in SL until you get there for real. Want to see the Statue of Liberty? Then take a TP to New York in SL, and in a matter of seconds you'll not only see the Statue of Liberty, but you'll also see the 911 Memorial. When I'm in the mood to have some peace and quiet, to think and not be disturbed, I often find myself searching beautifully crafted churches in SL for solace--and there are many of them--some where services are held and some where just for the beauty of the real life version, they are created in Second Life.

A few weeks ago, I visited the island created by Vassar College, and there I found the Sistine Chapel.

Sistine Chapel

The real-life church, known for its famous ceiling and the Last Judgment creations by Michelangelo, is brought to life on the Vassar island. According to information I found while at the chapel, the Sistine Chapel recreation was built by Steve Taylor, of Vassar College (AV: Stan Frangible.) It was built as a proof of concept, to explore how virtual reality might be used to learn about art and architecture, by experiencing the scale, context and social environment of a real-life space. For the most part, everything is true to scale. The images are from photographs, used with permission from various distributors. It is built of more than 500 prims and more than 200 different textures.

Sistine Chapel

The minute I walked inside, the beautiful paintings on the wall soothe me, and what I really wanted to do was just walk around, taking in the images and be. So I did.

Sistine Chapel

One church that I absolutely loved was the Basilica Cardinale Cathedral Church.

Basilica Cardinale Cathedral Church

The most beautiful thing about the Basilica is the moment you walk in there is this dark peace about the space but filtering through gorgeous stained glass windows is gold streams of sunlight. The minute I walked in, I felt at peace.

Basilica Cardinale Cathedral Church

Not only can you take a seat in a pew, but you can also take a kneel at one of the prayer seats, which I was more than happy to do. For those who develop churches in Second Life, the Basilica also has a store where you can buy church/religious-related items--like the prayer seat I'm on in the picture below.

Basilica Cardinale Cathedral Church

The last two churches presented are here not only because they are beautiful but also because the island they are on provide visitors with great attractions to check out, too.

St. Nicholas Parish Church

The real-life version of St. Nicholas Parish Church was founded in 1101. It is the largest parish church in England. The SL version is as detailed on the outside as the real life version.

Real Life St. Nicholas Parish Church

For those who are interested in getting married, in having a naming ceremony or a funeral in Second Life, you can hire the church to perform these services.

Inside St. Nicholas Parish Church

One thing I liked about St. Nicholas, besides the beautiful church, is that at the TP spot where you'll land, there are slurls to various places on the land where you can visit and learn more about the area, which takes much of its development from its real life area.

Me and Friend at St. Nicholas Parish Church

My favorite church during my excursion to churches is the Catedral de Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico.

Catedral de Guadalajara

The first version of the real life Guadalajara Cathedral (La Catedral de Guadalajara) or Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Lady was built in 1541 in Jalisco, Mexico. And like St. Nicholas Parish Church, the Guadalajara Cathedral is just as beautifully fashioned in SL as it is in real life.

Catedral de Guadalajara in Real Life

The inside of the cathedral is one that felt more opulent than others with its tall thick pillars with gold bands.

Inside Catedral de Guadalajara

I sat in this church for a while, just to absorb the peace and beauty I found in it, but once I stepped outside, there were more adventures to be had.

Other activities near Catedral de Guadalajara

Right outside the cathedral, there is a image that allows you to TP to various places on the island, to include a volcano, a bar, and an opera house. You can even get on their Tequila Express train tour and learn about all the sites of the island.

Now, I want to conclude this by saying this piece is not a "Come to Jesus" moment. In fact, I've written about faith before [here] on SLE. I wanted to showcase churches for at least two reasons. One, they are just beautifully created, and anyone who puts that much work toward replicating real life beauty with prims and pixels deserves to have them viewed. And two, a lot of these places that work so hard to bring real life history to SL are non-profit organizations who somehow, some way, pay a lot of money to have their islands and create these wonderful spaces in SL. Some of them need us to support them so that they can stay in SL. Whatever I can do with some words and images to bring these great places to light, I will do.


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