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IN ENGLISH

Montmajour Abbey is a fortified Benedictine monastery built between the 10th and 13th century on what was then an island five kilometers north of Arles, in the Bouches-du-Rhône département, Provence, in the south of France.

The Abbey is noted for its 11th-14th century graves, carved in the rock, its subterranean crypt, and its massive unfinished church.

It was an important pilgrimage site during the Middle Ages, and in the 18th century it was the site of a large Maurist Monastery, now in ruin.

During the Middle Ages, several legends arose about Montmajour and its founding. One legend said that the island had been the sanctuary of St. Trophimus, who had been sent from Rome by St. Peter to convert the Gauls. After coming to Arles in 46 AD, he took shelter in one of the caves on the island and received disciples there. A rock cell under the church is called "The Confessional of St. Trophimus."

Another legend said that the graves were those of soldiers of Charlamagne, who had fought against the Saracens. A third legend said that the first church was founded by King Childebert I, the son of Clovis, when he saw fervor of a group of anchorite hermits on the island.

This picture shows the watchtower (also known as 'le tour des abbés', the tower of the abbots).

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EN FRANCAIS:

L'abbaye Saint-Pierre de Montmajour était une abbaye bénédictine fondée en 948 à environ quatre kilomètres au nord-est d'Arles dans le département des Bouches-du-Rhône.

Dès la fin du Xe siècle elle devint l'une des abbayes les plus riches de Provence et le monastère se développa, entre le XIe et le début du XVIIIe siècle, par la construction d'une série de bâtiments religieux et militaires.

Abandonné à la fin du XVIIIe siècle puis fortement dégradé après la Révolution, cet ensemble architectural est désormais classé aux monuments historiques.

Voici le tour des abbés.

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Additional Photos by Benny Verbercht (BennyV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1541 W: 34 N: 2212] (13548)
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