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MontstMichel.co.uk  2010

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Photo of the Chapelle Notre-Dame-sous-Terre

Photo of the Chapelle Notre-Dame-sous-Terre

The Carolingian Church  

(Chapelle Notre-Dame-sous-Terre)

at Le Mont Saint Michel

The Carolingian Church

 

 

 

   The Carolingian Church, known as Chapelle Notre-Dame-sous-Terre was constructed around 966 by the very first Benedictine monks it was constructed in the exact location of St. Aubert’s man-made grotto.This is actually the oldest existing monument upon Mont-Saint-Michel. Constructed on the western section of the mountain, it had been encircled by only several canons’, dwellings and also by a building, no more extant, that was standing at the top of the Mont. One can possibly picture just how much light must have streamed in through the windows that have been walled up in the 11th century when Notre Dame sous Terre ended up being enclosed into the foundations of the Romanesque abbey.

 

 

  Nobody understands exactly why this chapel offers 2 aisles. It could have been an effort to perpetuate the memory of the unique relationship with Mt. Gargano, in which the cavern is roughly heart-shaped. Possibly Notre Dame sous Terre has been separated soon after it's building in order that it may be vaulted within natural stone. Maybe the floor plan demonstrates the actual liturgy of the canons, which we no longer know, or even the combination into an individual building of 2 sanctuaries of a non-Benedictine monastery in which more than one had been permitted.

 

 

  The usage of brick during the building of the arches would appear to indicate that the chapel has been influenced by the Gallo-Roman monuments which most likely still existed in the Tenth century not necessarily in Mont-Saint-Michel itself but in the area. The particular static juxtaposition of quantities in the 2 aisles as well as their apses directly recalls Historic Roman structures. Integrated in the 11th century into the supports of the Romanesque nave, blocked evidently inside the Twelfth century by way of a superfluous pillar that disfigured the whole northern lisle, the chapel has been partly walled up within the Eighteenth century when the Maurist monks constructed today's facade of the abbey church. It really is because of the effort performed by the architect of historical ancient monuments, Y. M. Froidevaux, who strengthened} the vault with recompressed reinforced cement which Notre Dame sous Terre has once again obtained it's unique dimensions.