mardi 6 décembre 2005

This is the cathedral/basilica built on top of one the highest hills in the middle of Marseille. The views from the cathedral are spectacular- one can see all of Marseille. It used to be where the lookout post was. A chapel was built on the hilltop in the 13th century, and became a priory for the monks of St Victor. In the 16th century, the church was fortified, to defend against a threatened invasion by Charles V of Spain. It was built between 1853 and 1864. (side note- the foundation stone was laid September 11th) On top of the belfry is a huge golden statue of the Virgin holding a child. From Wikipedia:

This ornate Neo-Byzantine church sits atop the signal hill of La Garde, the highest natural point in Marseille, being a 162 m (532 ft) limestone outcrop on the south side of the Vieux Port. As well as being a major local landmark, it is the site of a popular annual pilgrimage every August 15th (Assumption). Local inhabitants commonly refer to it as "la bonne mère (the good mother)." The basilica took five years to build and required 170,000 tons of material, including 23 shiploads of marble and porphyry from Italy.

An ex-voto is a votive offering to a saint or divinity. It is given in fulfilment of a vow (hence the Latin term, short for ex voto suscepto, "from the vow made") or in gratitude or devotion. Ex-votos are placed in a church or chapel where the worshipper seeks grace or wishes to give thanks. Shrines decorated with ex-votos are often the destinations of pilgrimages. Ex-votos can take a wide variety of forms. In the church of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde in Marseille, France, the site of a major local pilgrimage, the ex-votos include paintings, plaques, model boats, war medals and even football shirts given by players and supporters of Olympique de Marseille, the local team.

(side note: Allez l'OM! Droit au but!)

The interior is decorated with inlaid marble, mosaics and murals. On the walls, there are many plaques from sailors and their families, sometimes just saying Merci. There are also hanging from the ceiling many small model boats.

Our Lady of the Guard belongs to all the inhabitants of Marseille. "Our Good Mother" pays particular attention to the people of the sea: she looks out to sea and the port entrance.

And finally, because every Cathedral needs to have a website

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