6 Nov 2008

Historic coral church in French Polynesia to be renovated

7:51 pm on 6 November 2008

The oldest cathedral in French Polynesia, which was built out of coral, is to be renovated over two years at a cost of seven million US dollars.

The cathedral of St Michel was built in Rikitea, in the far east of the Gambier archipelago, between 1839 and 1841.

An architect linked to the renovation says the work will also serve to train craftsmen and preserve skills.

In the past, the missionaries made the locals spend considerable time cutting coral to build dozens of churches and chapels in the area.