Sep 13, 2008

Beautiful Mont Saint-Michel

Mont Saint-Michel (or St Michael's Mount) is a beautiful tidal island in Normandy, France. This rocky island is located approximately one kilometer off the France's north coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches. Mont Saint-Michel is an unique and beautiful place. So, UNESCO has included it in the list of World Heritage Sites.

Mont Saint-Michel used to be connected to the mainland via a thin natural land bridge, which was covered by water at high tide and revealed at low tide. But with time the distance between the shore and the south coast of Mont-Saint-Michel has decreased and in 1879, the land bridge was fortified into a true causeway.

Mont Saint-Michel was used in the sixth and seventh centuries as an Armorican stronghold of Romano-Breton culture and power. Before the construction of the first monastic establishment in the 8th century, the island was called Mont Tombe. According to a legend, the archangel Michael appeared to St. Aubert, bishop of Avranches, in 708 and instructed him to build a church on the rocky islet. Aubert repeatedly ignored the angel's instruction, until Michael burned a hole in the bishop's skull with his finger.

William de Volpiano, the Italian architect was chosen as building contractor by Richard II of Normandy in the 11th century. He designed the Romanesque church of the abbey and many underground crypts and chapels. In coming years, different kings contributed to construction of buildings and fortification of the abbey-mount.

In 1979, the UNESCO included the Mont Saint-Michel and its bay to the list of World Heritage Sites, because of it's cultural, historical, and architectural significance, as well as men-made and natural beauty. Take a look at the pictures of beautiful Mont Saint-Michel. Is it not beautiful? Also watch a video on Mont Saint-Michel:


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