Friday, March 2, 2012

Christchurch's quake-hit cathedral to come down

(CNN) -- The remains of what was Christchurch Cathedral, whose shattered spire became a symbol of the New Zealand city's quake devastation, is to be dismantled after Anglican church officials said the earthquake had damaged the structure of the iconic church beyond repair.

Bishop Victoria Matthews said the existing church walls would be brought down to about 3 meters and the base of the church kept for use as a prayer garden.

Officials had thought part of the building could be saved but said on Friday that recent aftershocks had made the existing structure unsound.

"What we need to do is bring the walls down to a safe level which is probably about 2-3 meters," Bishop Matthews said. "There will be no bulldozers, no wrecking ball. This will be done with deep respect and love."

The cathedral -- one of the city's best-known historic buildings -- was severely damaged in the earthquake on February 22, 2011, its neo-gothic spire crashing to the ground. The quake destroyed many buildings in Christchurch's central business district and killed 185 people. Read More