Excursion to the island-fortress of Normandy among the quicksand
• Excursion to the island-fortress among the shifting sands of Normandy
There are places in the world that are a must visit. One of them is that which will be discussed below - abbey of Mont Saint-Michel, which is over 1,300 years old exist in the amazing giant piece of granite in the middle of the quicksand on the shores of the English Channel.
City, grew up in the middle of a desert of salt water and sand, is today one of the smallest towns in the world by population and the second most visited place in France after the Eiffel Tower. 22 residents and 3, 5 million tourists a year.
And I must say, these 3, 5 million come here a reason!
In total 275 kilometers from Paris, and you find yourself in a completely different atmosphere, in a very different time, in a different dimension altogether.
Northwest France, Normandy. The region is completely saturated with history, remembering Joan of Arc and the Hundred Years' War, Viking raids and the famous landing of US troops in 1944 ... Driving up to the bay of Saint-Michel, you will long to go through the endless meadows, grazed a special breed of sheep and even from far away will be able to watch the slowly approaching the city-fortress on the rock.
Then the road will turn left and you will come to a huge parking lot, divided into zones for cars and tourist buses. In the year here is 3, 5 million tourists. Or almost 10 thousand (!!!) per day.
Island city to the mainland by a long causeway connects, get on it in three ways. The first - on foot. It will take some time, but will make some interesting shots.
The second - a special electric shuttle-bass. He is a very unusual kind, has two cabins (front and back, not to unfold) and manufactured, according to the sign, from environmentally friendly materials. Its body is sheathed wooden veneer both outside and inside.
The third way - by horse-drawn wagon. And if the bus is free, you have to pay for the carriage
So, you get off the bus and just incredible picture opens in front of you. The impression is that you can see the island with a tall spire Gothic cathedral is not reality, but the illustration to any medieval novel.
I'm not in this large reportage recount the entire history of the abbey of Mont Saint-Michel, t. To. This information everyone can learn on Wikipedia and on countless websites on the Internet. In this story a tour and experience.
The first settlement of the city arose in this dream in the year 709. Of course, then he looked completely different - there were these huge walls and high spiers. Yes, and the dam was not.
The town then came here only because it is located on the island. And on the island, which is not so, and it was easy to get there! The fact that this place is literally owl is unique in the world. Here there are the strongest amplitude tides in Europe and second in the world (after the Bay of funds). Now, when the low tide, the sea is very far away and under the feet of only sand-dune hills. Until the edge of the sea is now 18 kilometers. And during the high tide water arrives so much that it will move another 20 kilometers of the coast.
By the way, you can often hear the story, that the speed of the tide here is comparable to the speed of a galloping horse. In fact, all the little and the tide speed is about 6, 2 kilometers per hour.
From the upper terraces of Mont-Saint-Michel can be seen a string of people wandering the to the island, something from him, but in fact, these places can be tricky and dangerous - these sands shifting with every tidal dangerous location "migrate" .
In ancient times, the difference in water level between the tides was up to 14 meters and together with the shifting sands made it virtually impregnable rock. It is for this reason that in 709 the church was built here for the thirsty solitude.
In time, the church little by little overgrown buildings, then there were the walls, and then everything was rebuilt, build on, and towered shirilos until eventually turned into a huge castle-fortress on a wonderful piece of granite rocks sticking out of the sand dunes
Different sources of Mont Saint-Michel is called differently. Somewhere abbey somewhere city.
In fact, it's probably still a city where there is a church, one street, cemetery, inns, now have become restaurants and hotels, a post office and, at the top, directly Abbey.
Passing through the gates of the city, you first get to the very narrow and incredibly busy street, on both sides of which there are souvenir shops and restaurants
Represent, many centuries ago, rather than tourists, this pavement clatter of horses hooves under the rider and the side doors were scurrying travelers and all sorts of different people.
Before the rise of the abbey is the parish of St. Peter's Church, which was preceded by a cult of the cult of St. Michael
When the church is a small cemetery. In 1204 Breton burned the village and part of the monastic buildings. The current settlement, located on the southern slope can be dated no earlier than the first half of the XIII century.
The modern city is located on both sides of the only road that rises to the abbey on the south-eastern slope of the mountain. In addition to participating in the service sector, the permanent residents of the city (about 30 people) are engaged in agriculture in the liberated, thanks to the carried out in the XIX century, reclamation works, lands.
Well, the guest rooms are located in this small old stone houses for those who decide to spend the night in the Abbey after the gates are closed after sunset in the city
The vintage clock with arrows from a tree at the foot of the monastery
One of the locals, which is not covered by the census)
Login to Abbey itself. The height of the facade impresses !!!
To build such a massive building on the island-rock, when the road here and there ... It is necessary to try!
The walls of the abbey
Entrance to the city of Mont-Saint-Michel is free, but entrance to the abbey have to pay. All proceeds go to the upkeep of the city-fortress, restoration and repairs, which are carried out continuously.
from the upper tiers of the city, but rather to the monastery gardens, offers an incredible panorama.
The dam across the strait to the Saint-Michel abbey.
Locals complain that the dam completely ruin the balance of the surrounding land, water will move in other areas during tides and lost the main feature of this place - it will cease to be impregnable island.
Strips receding water and vast expanses of quicksand
View of the chapel of St. Hubert
The defensive structures built in to the XI century, allowed to withstand a siege in 1091.
Construction thorough fortifications around the abbey began in 1311. At the same time the wall and got suburb, located at the foot of the mountain. Then, in the Abbey tank for water storage it was built, which made it possible to withstand a long siege. Although in 1425 besieged managed to blow up part of the fortifications, the complete success they failed to achieve.
During the Hundred Years' War, the hill was defended by 119 knights. At this time, the first ramparts were built. British, tried unsuccessfully in 1434 to take the Mont-Saint-Michel with the help of artillery were left bombards of the city at the moment the second vorotami.16 June 1450 the British left the island tomblaine that meant victory precipitated.
The Chapel of St. Hubert. It is located outside the city walls at the water's edge, where it is
entrance to the main church of the abbey.
Construction of the church was started in the new for that time Romanesque style under the guidance of Abbot William of Volpiano. Funds for its construction gave in 1022 the Duke of Normandy Richard II in order to attract pilgrims here. At the top of the granite cone it was not the site on which the building could accommodate a planned length of 70 m, so the architects decided to base almost the entire western nave of the church on the existing church of Notre-Dame-sous-Terre.
The Romanesque choir and a Gothic nave.
They finished in 1084, towards the end of Radulfa bishop. It is true then it was three-of-flight (Institute of Organic Chemistry) is longer than it is now. This was followed by the collapse of the walls and the fire, resulting only in the middle in XII. under Bishop Bernard church was completed by the construction of towers crowning the crossbar. In his quest to complete the Abbey gabled roof, the builders did not take into account that standing on a flat surface of the water the building will be exposed to the danger of the struck by lightning. This happened in 1300, when burned by lightning central tower.
In XV century Romanesque choir were destroyed. A fire in 1776 destroyed the three-span building at the entrance. In 1760 the nave was shortened by half, thus formed the very large terrace, which can be seen in the previous picture before the main portal of the church
Chapel of St. Martin
In connection with the celebration of the Millennium of monasticism, in 1969 settled Benedictine community, currently consists of 7 people in the premises of the Abbey.
Every day served, which is open to parishioners and tourists, and the temple returned to the role of spiritual center, which he lost in 1790.
In the abbey church
In general, I must say that the car leaves the abbey still quite sinister impression. Largely due to the large number of chimeras, crowning many walls and buildings
These chimeras - the card of Mont-Saint-Michel and sold in the form of numerous souvenirs in the shops on the main street
The procession cloister
of the Romanesque abbey
The monastery courtyard
Buttress monastery buildings.
Amazing wall sculpture
The chimney in the wall of the refectory
The dark corridors inside the abbey. And seen the monks, silently scurrying with a candle candle in hand
The thickness of the wall was built ... so built!
The corridors and stairs monastery ensemble
The very first church was built in the form of a grotto depicting a cave in which there has been a phenomenon of St. Michael. On this version of the legend say the remains of two Christian chapels belonging, probably, to the VI century, discovered during excavations on the mountain.
Six hours at the abbey of Mont Saint-Michel fly by unnoticed. And an endless stream of people come here, go along the causeway and quicksand ...