/ / Abbaye du Mont-Saint-Michel: photo, description Abbaye du Mont-Saint-Michel)

Abbaye du Mont-Saint-Michel: photo, description Abbaye du Mont-Saint-Michel)

The island fortress of Mont Saint-Michel is located on the Northwest coast of France, about 285 kilometers West from the capital city of Paris. This unique rocky Isle was inhabited at the beginning of the VIII century, then, there appeared the first religious building made in pre-Romanesque style and later developed into a large and powerful Abbey of St. Michael.

The history of the Abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel

According to legend, in 708 the local Bishop himself appeared to the Archangel Michael and ordered to build the sacral building on the island. The first Church was built a year later in the form of a grotto and was subsequently converted into and preserved to this day, the Underground Church of the virgin, executed in pre-Romanesque style. It dates from the year 966, but has long been abandoned due to frequent rearrangements and completion of the Abbey and restored only in early XX century.

The construction of the Central building of the monastery started in 1017 and finished 500 years later - in 1520. During this time, the Abbey experienced a period of prosperity, followed in the XII century, but also a period of decline occurred during the hundred years war. Initially the Abbey was English territory, but after the war was ceded to the French. The city itself was almost completely destroyed by the British in 1424-1434. Abbey resumed its religious activities several decades later.

After the French revolution the monastery, which is in disrepair, were completely abandoned. From 1791 to 1863 it was used as a prison, which held political prisoners who opposed the ruling regime. Moreover, in one of the monastery buildings housed a hat factory. Only in 1874 the authorities remembered about the monastery and hailed it as a monument of history. Not the last role was played by the great French writer Victor Hugo seeking to the Emperor Napoleon III on the closure of the prison in this unique historic building.

Since 1979, the Abbey and the Mont Saint-Michel, entered the list of UNESCO world heritage site, and ten years earlier settled there of the Benedictine community. Thus, the monastery was again returned to the bosom of the Catholic Church.

The main Church of the Abbey

In appearance the main building of the monastery is intertwined several architectural styles as its very construction was about 500 years, and was marred by numerous destructions and fires. The construction of the temple began in the year 1022 in the Romanesque style, and from that period at the moment, remained only long nave and transept, based on numerous underground chapel, which to this day there are religious services. Interestingly, these crypts preserved in its authentic form, only the wall paintings were lost. Especially pay attention to the crypt of the Large Pillars, famous for its thick load-bearing columns supporting the nave and transept.

Choirs were completed after the hundred years war, and therefore built in a more modern style of "flaming Gothic". And in the eighteenth century, many of the old parts of the monastery, including part of the nave, were destroyed due to poor condition. Only after more than a hundred years began a full restoration of the monastery, which was completely rebuilt a historic bell tower, later crowned by its famous neo-Gothic spire. On its end was mounted a gold-plated sculpture of St. Michael the Archangel performing the function of a lightning rod. To the building of the monastery was added some neo-Romanesque elements, which, despite the fact that was made much later than the original buildings, designed in the same architectural style.

The monastic buildings

The monastery of Mont Saint-Michel is unique in that its shopping areas, and the cells placed around the temple and located at different levels. On the top is a dormitory, erected in the XI century, together with the nave of the Cathedral. In the XII century the monastery was also supplemented by two powerful Western towers and a Large staircase that connects the Abbey with a small town at the foot of the mountain. Also had a ramp that was easier to deliver food and goods up to the monastery.

But in 1211, began the construction of a powerful Gothic building in the Northern part of the Abbey. The previous structure was destroyed during the first siege a few years earlier. New monastic complex was called "a Miracle" and consisted of the courtyard of the cloister, surrounded by a gallery, knight's hall with elegant columns, located on the bottom floor, and ornate refectory, located on the top. The complex was surrounded by a strong wall, supported by buttresses.