At the northern entrance to the Cathedral of Salamanca is always crowded: a group of tourists trapped near the portal, framed sculptures
- Take a look at the figure of the astronaut - indicates guide for small sculpture two meters above the threshold. - This is a portrait of Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon first.
After standing on the porch of the cathedral quarter of an hour, I heard from two different guides Version: is John Glenn, the first American astronaut, Edward White, the first American to walk in space. In all cases, the Spanish tour guides refer to a local restorer, who twenty years ago decided to place at the entrance to the cathedral figure of space explorers. Sergio Arrela, deputy director of the museum of the cathedral, said my surprise: yes, in 1990, the sculptor and restorer Miguel Romero allowed himself this little art prank.
However, Rodrigo Solanellesa, vicar of the cathedral, another version, he strongly rejected the "heresy»:
- The decoration of any Catholic church built in strict accordance with the canons of the Church, developed in the early Middle Ages. Any "pranks" of individual artists can not simply be - Diocese never adopt heretical element of decor.
- But how can an astronaut hit the wall of the cathedral?
- Less trust guides, - ironically said the padre. - It is normal for the Middle Ages monster, of which there are outside of the Catholic churches innumerable, they symbolize those fiends that a person may face outside the church, but the inside of the cathedral there is no way they.
Once again look into the sculptural decoration of the northern portal. Indeed, here is the right of the "astronaut" typical monster: the bearded monkey with a human eye and vulgar protruding butt. From this monster wants immediately hide under the shadow of the church.
As for the controversial figure, perhaps not - it's still a astronaut: classic suit, like the Museum of Cosmonautics at ENEA, on the chest - a box of a device, and cross ring breathing hose realistically drawn, and even corrugated soles of shoes.
Esteban Sanz, professor of philosophy at the University of Salamanca and at the same time the head of the Association of Authors alternative scientific concepts, sure, what interests me figure made no later XVIII century, when the complete construction of the new building of the cathedral. This belief has its strictly scientific basis in the library of the University students master Sansa found the beginning of the XIX century engraving with photographically exact representation of the sculptural decoration of the cathedral. So, "Astronaut" is this engraving is the same place that today. But in the manuscripts of the Renaissance has several references to meetings Salamanca monks with strange creatures that "skin is hidden under the outer skin." It turns out, no there is no arbitrariness restorer.
It remains to add that the entire architecture center of Salamanca, including, of course, the Cathedral, in 1985, that is, a few years before its restoration, taken under the protection of UNESCO as a universal heritage. All documents relating to the restoration of monuments of this level are a lot of approvals, including international expertise. So just add a garland of medieval figures of "astronaut" or anyone else can not.
It turns out, a strange monster, striking appearance coincides exactly with the astronaut astronaut, made by masters of the Middle Ages (up to XVIII century). Another question: Why? May, in fact, impressed by the meeting with the mysterious creatures that have "skin, hidden beneath the outer skin," the master decided to keep the memory of this unforgettable event?