/ / The baptistery of St. John the Baptist: photos, description (Baptistere Saint-Jean de Poitiers)

The baptistery of St. John the Baptist: photos, description (Baptistere Saint-Jean de Poitiers)

The baptistery of St. John the Baptist in Poitiers is the oldest monument in France, Dating back to the period of early Christianity. The first building was erected in the middle of the IV century on the remains of Roman buildings, future changes in the structure were made in the era of the Merovingians, so the baptistery is also referred to the outstanding monuments of architecture of the time.

The initiator of the construction of the baptistery, was St. Hilary, the first Bishop of Poitiers. Construction was started in the year 360, and later this building grew a quarter of Bishops. In the sixth century the baptistery was built a pool for baptism full immersion, a ritual adhered to at the time. But already in the X century the pool was filled, instead, it appeared the font as changed and the ritual itself. The bowl of the pool was discovered during excavations in the twentieth century and helped scientists to determine the exact age of the entire structure. In the X century the building of the baptistery was also extended and rebuilt.

At the end of the XVIII century after the revolution the building of the baptistery was nationalized, sold to private hands and turned into a warehouse. In the XX century in the baptistery were restored, and now it is a Museum of Romanesque sculpture. It contains the stone sarcophagus of the V-VII centuries, as well as fragments of Roman buildings, found during excavations, and religious utensils.

On the walls of the former baptistery has frescoes that were written from the XI to the XIV century. They depict the Ascension, scenes from the life of John the Baptist, the evangelists Luke, Matthew, John and mark, Byzantine Emperor Constantine. The facade of the building is interesting as a specimen of the style of art of the Merovingians, when the decoration used marble, stucco, and elements of ancient architecture pediment, pilasters, capitals).