London’s ancient Temple Church was constructed entirely of Caen stone. A dramatic, circular edifice with a daunting facade, a central turret and a protruding nave off one side, the church looked more lika a military stronghold than a place of worship. Consecrated on the tenth of February in 1185 by Heraclius, Patriarch of Jerusalem, the Temple Church survived eight centuries of political turmoil, the Great Fire of London, and the First World War, only to be heavily damaged by Luftwaffe incendiary bombs in 1940. After the war, it was restored to its original, stark grandeur.
The simplicity of the circle, Langdon thought, admiring the building for the first time. The architecture was coarse and simple, more reminiscent of Rome’s rugged Castel Sant’Angelo than the refined Pantheon. The boxy annex jutting out to the right was an unfortunate eyesore, although it did little to shroud the original pagan shape of the primary structure. "
Extract from Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’
Unfortunately, I did not exactly arrive at the Temple Church in the grandness of a Jaguar Limousine, but by foot from the nearest metro station. The sun came out as I walked out of the station. Since my sense of direction is always confused after a metro ride, I took out my map, and with the help of Thames at the back, and directions from a fellow passenger, I took to the right and continued along the river. The whole Temple complex consists of myriad of houses, and from where I were, I could not see anything looking like a church. Through a small green area, I saw an arch and a small, pebbled road leading into a maze of buildings. Asking once again for directions, I was guided up the road and to the right through an archway, where I reached a small courtyard. Going through the courtyard’s green area, admiring the wonderful spring flowers, I stumbled upon another arch and, through a colonnade, came out into a small square, where a magnificent dome on the building in front of me, told me that I had reached the Temple Church.
Dan Brown is right so far, as saying that the building looks more like a military stronghold than a church. That is, before you enter the building. Once inside you know you are in a church, and a beautiful church. Paying the entrance fee, I bought a small booklet written by the Master of the Temple, The Da Vinci Code and the Secrets of the Temple where he gives us the historical facts of the great secrets revealed in ‘The Da Vinci Code’. We have to consider that Dan Brown’s book is a fictional book and he has been inspired by historical riddles, on which he has written a fantastic tale. I think the problem with the book is, that people who read it, think that it is all true. Thus ‘The Da Vinci Code’ tourism that has developed in the aftermath of the book. It is a fantastic treat for the tourism industry in both France, England and Scotland, and I would not mind visiting these places myself. Hopefully, visiting these places will also teach us something of them and the real history behind.
In London lies a knight a Pope interred.
His labor’s fruit a Holy wrath incurred.
You seek the orb that ought be on his tom.
It speaks of Rosy flesh and seeded womb.
This is the code that Langdon has come to the Temple Church to solve. The knights are the first thing you see, when you enter the church to the left. Under the wonderful circular dome, there are several knights entombed, forever looking up into the painted ceiling of the dome. It is a beautiful sight.
Around the walls are ‘tablets’ with background information of the Templars, their quest and deeds and the history of the church. It is very well done and gives just enough information to tickle you curiosity to read more.
On the other side of the church is the altar and the area where Masses are held. You can also walk up a stone staircase, that dwindles through a tower, to a huge round room overlooking the space below. Majestic!