Cathedral of Thorns – Willemstad, Curaçao - Atlas Obscura

Cathedral of Thorns

This living labyrinth made entirely of thorns is filled with art. 

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As you wander through this maze, look but don’t touch—everything is made from thorns. This prickly labyrinth is a work of visual art, with indentations in the walls to display different sculptures from modern artists.

The Cathedral of Thorns is a work in progress. It was first conceived in 2014 by  the award-winning Dutch artist Herman Van Bergen, who continues to tweak this building-sized piece of art. The living labyrinth is made from sumpiñas, the thorns of Acacia tortuosa, a desert plant that is plentiful in Curaçao. Creating this building-sized piece of art became a community effort. Van Bergen enlisted local youth to help, some working on the construction and others collecting plant material.

Visitors are invited to walk through the maze, experiencing what the artist describes as “a journey through a troublesome history toward a bright future.” Each of these extremes are represented by the “hostile yet beautiful thorns.”

While experiencing the cathedral, you may even meet the artist himself as he fine-tunes his creation.

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