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The Basilica of the Sacred Heart (French Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, pronounced / sakʁe kœʁ /) is a Catholic basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart, which is located in Paris. Pope Benedict XV has elevated to the rank of minor basilica. The Basilica together at the Vittoriano monument in Rome is the whitest of Europe. Its limestone, in fact, has the characteristic of not retain dust and smog, so after every rain the “Sacré-Cœur” is even more resplendent.
Where is it:
The basilica is located on top of Montmartre (Mount of Martyrs or Mount of Mars), within the urban area of the eighteenth arrondissement of Paris, north of the city center. Until 1873, the year the start of construction of the Sacré-Coeur, the area was nothing more than a small village.
The basilica stands on the spot where he was martyred in the third century St. Denis by decapitation. According to legend, the saint would take the severed head and then he would do a few miles carrying it in his hands.
The decision to build the basilica was made in the aftermath of the French defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, to give the nation confidence and optimism necessary for a new rebirth.
The construction, encouraged by the archbishop of Paris, Joseph Hippolyte Guibert, was decreed by a vote of the National Assembly July 23, 1873 after the defeat of 1871 to atone for the crimes of the Communards, and also to pay tribute to the memory of the many citizens French who died during the war. The architect Paul Abadie designed the basilica after winning a competition against 77 other architects, but he died in 1884, and then other architects continued the work.
The building, begun in 1875, provided for a Romanesque-Byzantine style but saw several changes in the project. When they finished the work in 1920, he obtained a structure without a predominant feature but no less fascinating.
The first marble stone was laid June 16, 1875, but the church was completed in 1914 and consecrated in 1919, after the end of the First World War.
Solemnly inaugurated, in the first period was snubbed by the inhabitants of Montmartre who continued to go to Mass at the church of Saint Pierre, one of the oldest in Paris.
After the Eiffel Tower, the skyscraper of Montparnasse and Les Invalides, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart is the highest place of the city.
The architectural style of Sacre Coeur is heavily inspired by that of the Cathedral of Périgueux (Dordogne), designed by the architect Abadie and always known for several domes present.
Characterizes the structure of the outer material, or the stone of Château-Landon (Seine-et-Marne), a travertine frost-resistant and capable of becoming even more white and shiny with age and on exposure to rain.
At the entrance, in front of the portico with three arches, there are statues of saints Joan of Arc and Louis of France.
In the bell tower, located behind the apse, there is Savoiarda, name by which is known the large bell, with an explicit reference to the annexation of Savoy took place in 1895; it weighs 19 tons, and to bring it up to the top of Montmartre, it took 34 horses.
The interior is rather bare, except for the gold mosaic of the apse, one of the largest in the world, designed by Luc-Oliver Merson and dated 1922 The plan is a Greek cross, with a large dome 83 meters high on ‘intersection of the four arms. The choir is surrounded by an ambulatory with radiating chapels in the apse which opens with eleven arches supported by columns with carved capitals. The style of the altar in marble and bronze is based on that of the Abbey of Cluny in Burgundy. Since 1885, the Blessed Sacrament is exposed in a monstrance above the high altar; worship continues without interruption from that date.
Inside the sanctuary is also a splendid organ built by Aristide Cavaillé-Coll in 1898, and edited by Charles Mutin, one of the most grandiose of Paris.