AP The cosmatesque floor in Westminster Abbey may only be entered in socks
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 17:39
A unique opportunity for visitors to Westminster Abbey: from May they can take a look at the place where King Charles is crowned, but only if they take off their shoes. Guests are shown around this part of the abbey in socks only, in order to best protect the medieval floor.
Normally this part of the church, just in front of the high altar, is not open to the public. But this year the abbey is making an exception to mark Charles’s coronation and visitors can admire the site where Charles and his predecessors were crowned for the past 700 years.
That is special, Scott Craddock, head of visitor experience, told AP news agency: “This will be a very special experience for visitors. For the first time, we will allow small groups of people at the coronation site.”
A layer of carpet
There is only one problem: the floor in this part of the church is particularly fragile. There is a so-called cosmatesque floor, a rare and precious mosaic that consists of marble, precious stones, glass and metal. It has been there since 1268 and is unique in the UK.
Few people have been able to view this special work of art. The floor was in such a bad condition that carpeting was put over it in 1870. It only reappeared in 2010 after a thorough restoration that lasted two years.
The coronation of Charles will therefore be the first coronation in which the floor can be seen on TV. A historic moment, says curator Vanessa Simeoni: “For the first time in history, this floor can be seen at a coronation. It is a unique opportunity: except for the clergy, no one else is allowed here.” Those who want to admire the cosmatesque floor can visit Westminster Abbey from May.
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