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Palais des Papes - a monumental ensemble in Avignon

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Palais des Papes - a monumental ensemble in Avignon

Avignon is a city that became famous thanks to the residence of the head of the Catholic Church of the Pope, built in it. We are used to the Pope's dwelling place in Rome, but this was not always the case. The XIV century became difficult for the inhabitants of Rome: the struggle of aristocrats for power, position and wealth flared up in the city. It was decided to move the papal residence to a safer place. “There is a silver lining,” says a well-known proverb. Who knows, if at the beginning of the 14th century the cream of society had not waged civil strife, someone would have dared to build such a castle, which today is considered one of the most popular in the country?

History of the building

The decision to move the papal headquarters from Rome to Avignon was made in 1309 by Pope Clement V. In 1348 he bought the city from the Provencal counts as property. The main reason for the move is safety, flight from Rome, restless because of the aristocratic wars. This caused the complete collapse of the Vatican.

The first popes who lived in Avignon - Clement V and John XXII - chose the Dominican monastery as their place of residence. In 1334, it was decided to reconstruct the destroyed episcopal palace. Important dates in the construction and existence of the Papal Palace:

  • 1342 - completion of the construction of 2 main parts of the complex
  • 1377 - the rate was again moved to Rome, which became the reason for the split: the antipope Benedict XIII and Clement VII were against the return to Italy and remained in Avignon until 1408
  • 1433 - the palace complex returned to the ownership of the Pope
  • 1789 - The Papal Palace is captured by the rebels and destroyed
  • 1791 - becomes the site of executions of counter-revolutionaries
  • 1906 - The authorities restored the facility and turned it into a tourist attraction.

Architectural features

The palace complex consists of 4 buildings, the facades of which are decorated with arcades and buttresses. There are loggias inside, and at the top there are loopholes-mashikuli. The style of the building is defined as Gothic, features: battlements, loopholes and arcades.

Particularly noteworthy are the large and small towers located at the corners of the facades:

  • Tower of Angels
  • Tower of the Pope
  • Tower of Great Honors
  • Garden tower
  • Kitchen tower
  • Wardrobe tower, etc.

Interesting Facts

  • In total, the facades are decorated with 12 towers
  • Today there is a museum inside the palace
  • The Papal Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • A theater festival is held annually on the territory of the complex
  • The total area of the ensemble objects is 11,000 m2
  • The building was designed by the architect Pierre Poisson Mirepos
  • The construction of the complex was the main expense of the papacy for a long time.

The object belongs to palaces.

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