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Fontenay Abbey

Bourgogne, France, Fontenay Abbey courtyard

The Abbey of Fontenay in Burgundy was founded in 1118 by Saint Bernard. It is one of the best preserved examples of early Cistercian architecture. In 1130 the monks settled in Fontenay, in its heyday, spent more than 200 monks in the abbey.


The abbey is a reflection of the ideas of the Cistercians. Poverty and loneliness were part of the life of the monks. Architecture had to be practical-b-. The design aimed to the world, human history and purpose of God to display. The buildings of the monastic order of Bernard de Clairvaux give one's own reflection of this view.


The second abbot Guillaume d'Epry (1132-1154) welcomed Ebrard bishop of Norwich in 1139 in the abbey. The bishop was persecuted and fled to England Fontenay, where he was a part of the construction of the church at the abbey complex financed. The new complex was inaugurated in 1147 Pope Eugenius III. The main buildings of the abbey church and monastery, are both from the 12 century. Besides these two buildings are on the complex include a bakery, a guest house, a factory for metal and a hunting lodge.


The plan of the church consisted of a Latin cross with three ships. The inside of the church consists of eight beech with vaults and ogives arches that spring from half columns to columns. There is no clerestory to the church, leaving only light enters through the narrow aisles and the windows of the facade and choir . Each branch of the transept has two chapels available. Most of the capitals of the pair drawn columns from a piece of stone are carved.


Until the sixteenth century, it prospered with the Abbey of Fontenay. During the religious wars was the mindset of the religious order aside and was not appointed abbot by the monks, but by the king. During the French Revolution in 1890 left the last eight monks abbey. Meanwhile, the Abbey of Fontenay named World Heritage Site by UNESCO.