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Pilgrims visit Milan to see Holy Nail

13 Aug 2007

On 13 September, the archbishop of Milan will float up to the heavens and bring down a nail from the cross on which Christ died, as part of a sacred ritual that spans back over countless generations.

Every year, he rises in a basket painted with clouds to the ceiling of the Duomo di Milano, one of the most breathtaking of gothic cathedrals in the world, and brings down the Santo Chiodo, or Holy Nail, which the Roman Emperor Constantine had melted into the bit of a horsebridle.

The crowd below is a mixture of faithful Catholics and tourists visiting the city of Milan, mingling together to watch the spectacle which is, needless to say, quite surreal.

The cathedral of Milan is famous across the world for its significance in the development of the Christian faith and the establishment of Catholic traditions and worships. It was built in the lat 14th century and was not fully completed until the 19th century.

It is one of the world's largest gothic churches, second in size only to the Cathedral of Seville in Spain.

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