Back to school in Cluny: discover your local heritage!

During the sensory visit «The abbey in all directions», take advantage of a short and playful appointment to discover the abbey of Cluny, heritage of the Clunisois, with a long...

© Centre des monuments nationaux

During the sensory visit «The abbey in all directions», take advantage of a short and playful appointment to discover the abbey of Cluny, heritage of the Clunisois, with a mediator. Through an interactive journey, students mobilize their five senses to project themselves into the life of monks.

About the venue

Palais du Pape Gélase, Place du 11 août 1944, 71250 Cluny
  • Édifice religieux
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  • Patrimoine européen
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  • Villes et Pays d'art et d'histoire
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  • Tourisme et handicap
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  • Monument historique

The abbey of Cluny was based(established) in 910 by Guillaume le Pieux, duke of Aquitaine. He gives his lands of Cluny to apostles Pierre and Paul, subtracting so the abbey of the power of the bishop and of the laic Lords. He(It) chooses Bernon as first abbot. The monks have to follow the rule(ruler) Benedictine. The abbey of Cluny has the possibility of reforming other monasteries. Very fast, in Europe in search of religious restructuring, the abbey becomes a model and a multitude of monasteries take place dependent on Cluny. At the end of the XIth century, the abbey of Cluny is one of more important capitals of Christian Europe. She is at the head of a network of about 1400 dependences(outbuildings) and about 10 000 monks divided in whole Europe. The abbot then ready(in position), Hugues de Semur, decides to make build a minster which will represent God's power on earth(ground), but also power of Cluny. In 1088, begins the construction site(work) of "Maior Ecclesia", biggest(greatest) never built Romance church vaults of which culminate in 30 m. A century later, the front - nave will be built. So, the minster of Cluny, "Maior Ecclesia" or else Cluny III, will be the biggest(greatest) church of Christendom during almost 400 years. Famous abbots succèderont at the head of the abbey during next centuries, as Richelieu or Mazarin but nothing will stop(arrest) the progressive decline of the powerful abbey. However, by 1750, the conventual buildings(ships) are rebuilt and they endow so the abbey of a large complex of classic style. The monks will have hardly time to occupy places because Revolution bursts shortly after works. The monks are then evicted(deported) and disperse in the ambient parishes, buildings(ships) are seized as the property national and put for sale. The huge church is then bought by traders of materials who will use it as stony career(quarry) and dismantle this head little by little - of work of the Romanesque art. Today, the vestiges which reached us, the south arm of the big(great) transept or else the small south transept, give us an idea of the immensity of this building. Many more elements reached until us: the wall of surrounding wall(speaker) and its tours(ballots), the conventual buildings(ships) of the XVIIIth century, Farinier, building(ship) of the XIIIth century, which shelters the capitals(big tops) of the traffic circle of the chorus(choir) of "Maior Ecclesia" today. The Art museum and museum of archaeology presents numerous vestiges sculpted of the church and the monastic market town. A new movie there 3D opens the visit of the abbey by making discover the minster restored at the time of its splendour. The abbey of Cluny is open to the public by the Centre of the national monuments.

Abbaye de Cluny © Philippe Berthé, CMN