Facts and Data
Unesco World heritage since: 1983
Size of heritage: 0.16 ha
- Buffer zone: 149 ha
Known as the 'Romanesque Sistine Chapel', the Abbey-Church of Saint-Savin contains many beautiful 11th- and 12th-century murals which are still in a remarkable state of preservation.
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Abbey Church of Saint-Savin sur Gartempe
The Abbey Church of Saint-Savin sur Gartempe, located in the Department of Vienne in the Poitou-Charentes Region of France, is a remarkable UNESCO World Heritage site. This Romanesque church, dedicated to Saint Savin and Saint Cyprian, is renowned for its stunning frescoes that adorn the interior walls.
The Abbey Church of Saint-Savin sur Gartempe has a rich history that dates back to the 9th century. It was founded by monks from the Abbey of Saint-Martin de Ligugé, who sought a secluded location for their religious community. The construction of the church began in the 11th century and continued over several centuries, resulting in a magnificent architectural masterpiece.
The church played a significant role in the religious and cultural life of the region. It served as a place of worship, a center for religious education, and a pilgrimage site. The abbey also accumulated considerable wealth and influence, attracting numerous donations from nobles and local lords.
During the French Revolution in the late 18th century, the abbey was dissolved, and the church was repurposed as a storage facility. Fortunately, the frescoes were preserved, as they were covered with a layer of plaster to protect them from damage. In the 19th century, the church was restored, and the frescoes were rediscovered and revealed to the public.
The Abbey Church of Saint-Savin sur Gartempe stands as a testament to the architectural and artistic achievements of the Romanesque period. Its imposing facade, with its intricate carvings and sculptures, captivates visitors from afar. The church's interior is equally awe-inspiring, with its soaring nave, ornate columns, and, most notably, the exceptional frescoes that cover the walls.
The frescoes of Saint-Savin, often referred to as the "Romanesque Sistine Chapel," are the main attraction of the church. Created in the 12th century, these frescoes depict biblical scenes, including the life of Christ, the Last Judgment, and various saints and martyrs. The vibrant colors, intricate details, and skillful execution of these frescoes make them a true masterpiece of medieval art.
Preservation efforts have been ongoing to protect and maintain the frescoes. The church has implemented strict measures to control temperature, humidity, and light exposure to ensure their longevity. Additionally, restoration work has been carried out to repair any damage caused by aging and environmental factors.
Today, the Abbey Church of Saint-Savin sur Gartempe continues to attract visitors from around the world who come to admire its architectural beauty and marvel at the exceptional frescoes. It serves as a reminder of the rich cultural heritage of the region and the artistic achievements of the Romanesque period.
Visitors can explore the church's interior, guided by knowledgeable staff who provide insights into the history and significance of the frescoes. The site also offers educational programs and exhibitions to further enhance the visitor experience and promote a deeper understanding of this remarkable UNESCO World Heritage site.
Hotels and places to stay
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Small airport - 21 mi (34 km) Poitiers-Biard Airport
Medium airport - 27 mi (43 km) Châteauroux-Déols 'Marcel Dassault' Airport
Medium airport - 46 mi (74 km) Limoges Airport
Medium airport - 51 mi (82 km) Guéret St Laurent Airport
Small airport - 58 mi (95 km) Tours-Val-de-Loire Airport
Large airport - 60 mi (98 km) Angoulême-Brie-Champniers Airport
Medium airport - 65 mi (106 km) Blois-Le Breuil Airport
Medium airport - 79 mi (127 km) Brive-La Roche Airport
Large airport - 102 mi (164 km) Bordeaux-Mérignac (BA 106) Airport
Large airport - 142 mi (229 km) Paris-Orly Airport
Large airport - 165 mi (265 km) Charles de Gaulle International Airport
Large airport - 186 mi (300 km)
Bigger and popular cities in the wider vicinity are these:
- La Chatre
- Le Blanc
These are some smaller cities that might be interesting. They are all rather close.
- La Bussiere
- La Cadrie
- La Chaise
- La Corbiere
- La Petite Ville
- La Riviere
- La Roche-au-Baussan
- Les Bergeas
- Les Grands Marsilly
- Les Hermitieres