Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde
France, Marseille

Marseilles call the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde the guardian of the city. The basilica and the gilded statue of the Virgin Mary, mounted on the bell tower, are visible from anywhere in the city. In 1214, the Marseille priest Peter built a small chapel of the Virgin Mary. The chapel was erected on top of the 161-meter-high rocky hill La Garde (security), which overlooked Marseille and the sea. In January 1516, Marseille was visited by the French king Francis I. In the chapel of the Virgin Mary, the monarch served a moleben in honor of the victory of the French army at the battle of Marignano. The king appreciated the location of the temple and the excellent view of the surroundings from the top of the hill, which was used during the construction of two forts in Marseille to protect the city: one fort was built on If island, the second on the top of the hill on which the chapel stood. Once outside the walls of the fort, the church did not stop working, it was visited not only by the soldiers of the garrison, but also by the inhabitants of Marseille. To enable the townspeople to enter the temple, by the order of Francis I, a drawbridge was built, on which people went to church service every morning. Not a single sailor went to sea without praying at the statue of the Virgin Mary. During the French Revolution, members of the Bourbon family were held in custody for six months. Catholic worship was prohibited in France. Like many other churches in France, the Notre-Dame de la Garde church was nationalized, and the property was simply plundered - two statues of the Virgin, a bell, an altar disappeared without a trace. Only the big crucifix survived, which even now can be seen at the entrance to the temple. After the revolution, the chapel was reopened. The commandant of the fort gave a small bell, and the former marinesman Eskaraman - a statue of the Madonna with a bouquet, bought by him at auction. By the middle of the XIX century, Marseille had grown significantly, the chapel could not accommodate everyone. In 1851, priests turned to the Ministry of War with a request to demolish a small chapel and erect a basilica with a large bell tower on the territory of the fort. Permission was obtained in 1852. The construction of the temple in the Roman-Byzantine style was begun on September 11, 1853, according to the project of the architect Henri-Jacques Esperandieux. The exterior of the temple is made using white Kalissan limestone and green stone. A wide stone staircase leads to the terrace, located in front of the basilica, and a small drawbridge leads to the church building itself. On June 4, 1864, the unfinished basilica was consecrated by Cardinal Willekurt. The construction of the bell tower was completed in 1866, and the statue of the Virgin Mary, made in Paris, in the Christofle workshop, was delivered to Marseille by train in 1869. The statue was made of copper, cast in four parts, and after their combination, the figure of the Virgin Mary and the Baby was covered with gold leaf. In 1870, an 11-meter statue, weighing 9796 kg, was installed on the bell tower of the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde. The interior of the temple is decorated with luxurious mosaics and marble. When Marcel was liberated from the Nazis, the command set the task of driving the Germans out of the Basilica of Notre-Dame de la Garde without the use of aircraft and artillery. The temple was liberated on August 25, 1944 thanks to the courage of French soldiers. After the war, the "Guardian of Marseille" again faithfully served the inhabitants of the city. In 2000-2008, large-scale restoration work was carried out on the exterior and interior of the basilica.

Tourist Objects nearby
Cathedral of St. Mary Major in Marseille
Cathedral of St. Mary Major in Marseille
Related Tour Objects
Brussels Cathedral (Cathedral of Saints Michael and Gudula)
Brussels Cathedral (Cathedral of Saints Michael and Gudula)
Temples
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Ruins of the Mahudu Maha Wiharay Temple
Temples