Friday, March 29, 2013

Karaganda - Cathedral

 Sunday, 24 March

Karaganda is like my 2nd Kazakh home; this is my 4th time here. It's one of the largest cities in Kazakhstan, but it doesn't feel that large. I love its downtown, which is stretched over one long road for a few kilometers. Just about everything you need is on this road—dozens of shopping centers, the drama theatre and symphony hall, the circus, a Western-style mall, restaurants, our hotel, and the entrance to the very large park which borders a lake. Further down this road is the train station and further down is the big bazaar and not too far from that is a new, huge, and beautiful mosque, which is next to the new, huge, and beautiful Catholic cathedral.

After breakfast, we walked until we neared the train station, where we realized that there really was no safe pedestrian way to cross the bridge over the train tracks, so we took a taxi. We first went to my friend's church, and then Sophia and I left her there to walk to our church, which was a pleasant 15 minute walk away.

Three years ago we visited this church as it was being built; it was completed in September, but I haven't been here since it's been finished. I was so excited to see the final product and sad to realize that I'd forgotten to bring my camera.

It is so beautiful; it looks like it belongs in Europe. It's made of stone, but somehow colored light brown to look like wood. The inside is beautiful. There are a few stained glass windows, but most the windows are bare, allowing for plenty of light. The stations of the cross are beautifully painted statues that line the wall. There are statues of saints along the colums.

I'm horrible at descriptions, so I won't describe it more.

After Mass, we took bus 43 to the City Mall, glad that our hotel is located on the main street, next to the department store TsUM, so I was easily able to ask if the bus went there. The elderly man who helped me seemed really concerned that I knew where I was going.

We met my friend and her daughter at Charlotka, where we had lunch. The waitress remembered us from yesterday.  We relaxed with coffee until 4 pm, when my friend's brother-in-law picked us up to take us to the hospital.  My friend's sister had just had a baby, which is the reason we're here in Karaganda.
Downtown Karaganda

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