Mont Saint-Michel, France



Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint Michel or Le Mont Saint-Michel is an island community in Normandy, France. Named after the arch-angel St. Michael, it is known as the Wonder of the Western World. The monument, a small rocky island, was built on 100 hectares (247 acres), about a kilometre to northwestern coast of the country at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches.


Mont Saint Michel is characterized by the highest tides, up to 14 meters high, steep rocks, and quicksand. The water surrounding Mont St Michel can move 18 kilometers away from the island and 20 kilometers deep into the coast. Mont Saint-Michel was built with granite from the nearby Islands of Chausey. Construction of the original abbey/ church structure took more than 500 years, from 1017 to 1521. The church was completed in 1144 and the other buildings were added later in 13th century. These buildings were used as a place of residence by the monks and piligrims who visited the abbey. Its monastery flourished as one of the great places of learning in the 12th century.

Le Mont Saint Michel is not just a church resting atop a rock; it is a whole mediaeval city. The mount is best known for the medieval Benedictine Abbey and the church. The abbey and monastery were located on the top, below which were the great halls. The lower level had the stores and houses and outside the walls, the bottom level bears houses for farmers and fishermen.
The popularity and fame of Mont Saint Michel faded during the French Revolution as the monks were forced to leave the place. During the Revolution the abbey was closed and converted into a prison until 1863, and the mount was declared a historic monument in 1874. Mont Saint-Michel and its bay are on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites.
This small city has been inhabited to this day, it has a mayor and not many full time inhabitants (around 44 people). Along with the religious monuments, this structure also has old houses, narrow streets, hotels, restaurants and shops which serve more than 3 million people who visit this site each year.
Mont Saint Michel video

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