The 'Crown of Light' installation is projected onto Durham Cathedral during the 2013 Lumiere Durham festival in England

The perfect canvas for an ancient text. The perfect canvas for an ancient text
The 'Crown of Light' installation is projected onto Durham Cathedral during the 2013 Lumiere Durham festival in England © Stuart Forster/Alam

Since 2009, the city of Durham has served as a grand stage for the biennial Lumiere Durham festival. During four days in November, works of 'son et lumière' - a French phrase that means 'sound and light' - provide spectators with new ways of viewing public spaces and buildings. Artists from around the world design large-scale light shows paired with narratives and sound effects. It's become the UK's largest light festival, and Lumiere Durham's 10th anniversary, which begins today, promises to attract more than 200,000 people to enjoy the illuminated artworks along cobbled streets.

This image from the 2013 festival shows 'Crown of Light,' a work that projects an ancient Christian manuscript called the Lindisfarne Gospels onto the exterior walls of the Durham Cathedral. The original manuscript, considered one of the world's oldest and finest examples of medieval European book paintings, was brought to the Durham area in the 9th century by monks who had fled their monastery in Lindisfarne, off the coast of Northumberland, to avoid Viking raids. The Lindisfarne Gospels is considered an illuminated manuscript because the book is painted in gold and silver with miniature illustrations and ornate border art. But at the festival, the term gets a new meaning as the illuminated manuscript lights up the cathedral for thousands of spectators to see.