22 August 2015

Silent halls - the Historial town of Poitiers

Eglise Sainte Radegonde, Poitiers
I'm not much of a religious person, but I do love Churches. As Holly said in one of our previous posts, there is something so fascinating about knowing that thousands of people have stood in this exact spot for over hundreds of years, all from different backgrounds and all for different reasons. The other reason I love walking among Churches and other historical, cherished monuments is because of the craftsmanship and dedication that went into every detail of it's creation. The tall, stained glass windows that allow even the smallest bit of sunlight to shine through and illuminate the statues within. The stone floors, in some places smoothed and polished to a shine through the innumerable amount of people that have stepped upon them. An eerie yet peaceful silence that seems to fall over you as soon as you walk through the towering doors. 

Holly & I decided to explore the surrounding Churches and Cathedrals in Poitiers, a historically rich town in the South-West of France.

  • Church of Sainte-Radegonde

This Church, (also shown in the first two pictures) is a medieval Roman Catholic Church dating from the 6th Century. It is named after the Frankish queen and nun, Radegund, who is buried in the Church. It was rebuilt in 1083 after a fire. This church was surprisingly busy, but Holly and I still spent about half and hour wondering around. As you can tell from the last few pictures, the colors in this church were mesmerizing. I was also surprised and intrigued by the architectural details, it was something I had never seen in any of the other churches. The colors were incredibly vivid, and it also had some odd carved figures in the stone pillars that I haven't seen elsewhere. It is definitely the most colorful church Holly & I visited! The Church also had underground crypts laid out in a semi-cercle, connected by small narrow stone corridors.

  • Church of Saint-Jean de Montierneuf

This Church was my favorite. Holly and I spent about 45 minutes walking around taking pictures. It was deserted. No one else came in until we were about to leave, and I couldn't believe how silent it was. As I was taking pictures of the architectural details and paintings, Holly whistled the Harry Potter theme tune, the sound echoing through the empty Church. Distinguished by it's Romanesque architecture, (it's exterior chevet to be more precise), this Roman Catholic Church dates from the 11th Century and has been listed as a historical monument since 1840. As you can see in some of the pictures, the Church is in need of some restoration. Many of the stained glass windows were broken, and crevices ran across the ceiling and pillars like veins.  Some areas were beginning to show the  result of hundreds of years of dampness. It was quite beautiful though, as it reminded us just how ancient the Church was. Carved into the stone ledge of the steps were hundreds of dates and prayers dating back decades.

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