Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel

The main attraction of the French region of Normandy is the abbey of Mont Saint-Michel, towering over the vast sandy bay. Since time immemorial, this abbey came together a huge number of pilgrims from all over Europe to come into contact with the shrines.
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The history of the abbey at Mont-Saint-Michel started from the chapel, which was built on a granite rock-island in 708 by the bishop of Avranches Saint-Aubert.

In 966, the Benedictine monks with the permission of the Pope founded the abbey here, and with the money of the Duke of Normandy, Richard I erect a monastery. In 1017 abbot Gilderbertom II began the construction of the central monastic building, whose construction is fully completed only five centuries.




Thanks to the work and faith of the Benedictine monks, a simple chapel for it for a long time turned into a magnificent abbey, built of granite quarried on the islands chausey.

At the beginning of the XII century Abbot Roger II is building the tower on the northern slope, which is now part of the Knights' Hall and the Refectory. At that time, the abbey is already one of the pilgrimage centers in Europe. The impact of the monastery is growing. Abbey takes English and French kings, he was granted a few possessions in England.




In 1204, the King of France, Philip Augustus seizes Normandy. An ally of the French king Guy de Tours was captured and burned the settlement at the monastery, as a result of the fire and severely damaged the monastery. Philip Augustus, to atone, Abbey donates a huge sum, and also finances the construction of buildings on the northern slope, later called a miracle. In 1128 construction was completed on the Miracle.

Until the XIV century monastery architecture has not changed. Abbots, successive, gradually built up the island. Hundred Years War, which broke out between England and France, resulting in the fact that the abbey is deprived of revenue from its British possessions.




In 1356, the British are attempting to take the monastery, but the siege was unsuccessful. In 1386, Abbot Pierre Roy for safety, significantly strengthens the entrance to the monastery, and is building three towers. In the future, the abbot who succeeded Roy Hubert Robert Jolivet, erects walls at the foot of the monastery.
During the Hundred Years War in 1424, the British re-precipitated monastery. For ten years, suffering huge losses, they unsuccessfully tried to get behind the castle walls. But the French defended the abbey. The British did not manage to take the island, but they have completely destroyed the town, formed in the last century, at the base of the monastery. In 1450, the British were defeated at the Battle of Formigny and driven from Normandy.




In 1469 the French King Louis XI established order of chivalry in the Abbey of St. Michael. In 1523 begins the construction of the Gothic choir. This year the monks are deprived of the right to choose the abbot of the monastery. Now, this right has only a king. Appointed by the king, not the priests, the so-called "abbots" completely devoid of spirituality. This leads to the fact that the treasury of the monastery is spent for other purposes. All this deprives the monks desire to live in a monastery. The flow of pilgrims to the abbey of Mont Saint-Michel is gradually running out. By 1580 in the monastery lives only 13 monks. Fourteen years later by lightning completely destroyed the bell tower. Because of the small number of monks in the temple for decades, and the dilapidated remains standing. In 1662, the Abbey, dilapidated, monks replaced the nine congregations of the Benedictine Saint-Maur.



In 1176 it happens again, fire that destroys the Romanesque entrance to the temple. The current system of selection Abbot continues to exert its destructive effect until 1870. During the Great French Revolution, the abbey was closed and converted into a prison. The monks are expelled, and all things from the monastery are sold.

With the arrival of Napoleon III Mont Saint-Michel is regaining its former glory, the prison was abolished, and the monastery is declared a national treasure in France. Begin work on its restoration.

The middle of the XX century was marked the return of the monks on a rocky island. In 1979, the abbey is included in the UNESCO World Heritage list. French themselves think of Mont-Saint-Michel "eighth wonder of the world." Actions and now the abbey of Mont Saint-Michel, which has become a real fortress, wonderfully combines military and religious architecture, he deserves that title.

Today this ancient abbey, amazing its grandeur and magnificence of the surrounding nature, takes about three million tourists a year.



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