Just a stone throw away from Philadelphia’s City Hall is the Masonic Temple–in its gray boring structure–that’s how it looks outside. At least to me.
The reason why I went inside was that Ive never been to one. Ive heard of freemasons and in fact, I have friends who are freemasons themselves but they really dont seem to convince me what freemasonry is and for. I thought its kind of a congregation that we know about but we really dont know about. Know what I mean? If not, then, I cant explain further. LOL…
You cant just go inside and tour around by yourself. Before going, check their tour schedule. It cost $8. The tour lasts an hour and its not really informative as I expected it to be. Going from one hall to another, I imagined myself like having a visual Humanities class back in university–except that my professor gave me more details about each architectural style. The Masonic Temple guide was just plain boring, uninterested/ing, and….. duh.
So, this was what the guided tour like: You pay and a guide will meet you in a museum-like room where some ancient stuff are on display. At an scheduled time, the tour begins and the guide brings the tourists from hall to another. Once inside the hall, hell play a short recorded voice and visitors listen. After that, hell ask everyone if they have questions. If none, hell give them a brief moment to inspect/see parts of the hall. Theres no time for admiration. If there are questions thrown at him, hell gladly answer them briefly. No more. No less. Then, hell tell everyone to follow him to the next hall.
Yeah, that kinda sucks! LOL…
This Grand Staircase is made of Tennessee marble. I was speechless looking at it.
This is the Oriental Hall thats covered in Moorish style–from floor to roof. The small arches have delicate embellishment of intricate lacy design.
The Gothic Hall. I would easily spot a Gothic kind of architecture due to its prominent arches. The groins, pointed arches, pinnacles and spires appear in every part of the room. The Cross and Crown, emblem of the modern Knights Templar, hangs above the Commanders throne (a replica of the Archbishops throne in Canterbury Cathedral.) The wainscoting is of oiled pine, and all the furniture is hand-carved.
The Ionic Hall. The ceiling represents heaven. Right in the middle of the room is the representation of a noon-day sun. Surrounding it are the signs of stars and planets. In this room theres a clock that is still keeping time since 1874!
The Egyptian Hall. This is really one place that you wont have to guess when inside. It feels and looks like you are in Egypt. This room is decorated in a Nile Valley style and has 12 majestic columns that carry Egyptian hieroglyphics and paintings of Egyptian gods.
The Rennaisance Hall. Obviously, this hall is decorated in Italian Rennaisance style. That painting you see in the middle is not Jesus Christ but Moses. The ceilings and walls are filled with symbols of masonry.
The Corinthian Hall. Its obviously Greek if you look at it. It is covered with emblems of Greek mythology mostly relating to spiritual stuff. Theres is one interesting here that was shown to us by our guide: he said that the carpet was installed in 1963 and was a gift from Puerto Rico. There is a deliberate imperfection in the design of this rug. One of the corner leaves was left out, to depict mans imperfection, and to follow a Persian tradition that only God, or Allah, is perfect.
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