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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Destinations - Mont Saint-Michel Castle (France)

Mont Saint-Michel is a rocky tidal island in Normandy, France. It is located approximately one kilometer off the country's north coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches.

All the structures on the island, including the castle, are crowned by the abbey church that stands 240 feet above sea level. The rock upon which the castle and all the structures of Mont Saint Michel are built measures a height of 84 meters. It is made of pure granite and is tough enough to withstand the rigors of time. The Italian architect William de Volpiano was commissioned as the building contractor in the 11th century.

During the sixth up to the seventh centuries Mont Saint Michel served as a stronghold. However, this role of being the safe keeper of Romano-Breton culture ended when Franks ransacked it in 460 AD. The next major event that is reported about the place is the miraculous appearance of St. Michael, which is for the most part according to legend. This event occurred in 708 AD with St. Aubert as the witness of the event.

The English made repeated attempts to invade Mont Saint Michel. However, every attempt they made ended up in failure. All the said attacks occurred during the so famed Hundred Years' War. It was during this time in 1420 when fortifications were reinforced. However, in the many sieges, the Romansque choir collapsed.

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