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Saturday, September 20, 2008

Historical Building

What struck me most on my recent tour of France was age. So many of the buildings, churches particularly, were hundreds of years old. On our second day, we visited the Basilica of St. Remi in Rheims. This church was started in the 11th century, but as is often the case with new construction, funds ran out and work stopped. Work was later started on a smaller, less grand, building.

After the French revolution, the Benedictine Monks were expelled from the Basilica and the Vandals of the Terror took over. The furniture was ransacked, the mosaics destroyed. In the early 19th century, some repairs were made. Then World War I caused much damage and parts of the building collapsed. Work was started to rebuild, but it took 40 years. On the 1st of October in 1958, the Basilica of St. Remi was finally available for worship. It is classified as on historical monument on Unesco's list of World Heritage.

While there are some new parts, it is still amazing that so much of it is the original building. Some of the original furnishings are in a museum, but there are also some in the church. The first picture is a statue of an Entombment from the 16th century.

The next three pictures are of some of the 48 engraved flagstones which were part of the decorated pavement of the abbot's house from the 14th century. They show various parts of the Old Testament. They are now on display on the wall.

I just find it amazing that they have lasted so long.

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