Photographer's Note

Basilica of Saint-Martin d'Ainay

The Basilica of Saint-Martin d'Ainay is a Romanesque church in Ainay in the Presqu'Óle district in the historic centre of Lyon, France.

Ainay Abbey
A Benedictine priory was founded on the Lyon peninsula in 859. When later it was raised to the rank of an abbey, major building works began: the abbey church was built at the end of the 11th century under Abbot Gaucerand, consecrated on 29 January 1107 and dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours by Pope Pascal II. This church is today one of the rare Romanesque churches still extant in Lyon.
The tiny building with its massive walls, watchtower, narrow window openings and spaces for heavy doors, was apparently built with defence in mind, and reflects the many dangers of warfare and violent incursions of the period of its construction.
In 1245 at the First Council of Lyon Ainay Abbey was acknowledged to have precedence over 71 churches, abbeys and priories from Burgundy to Provence, and was thus one of the most powerful religious houses in the region.
During the Renaissance the monastery owned a port, the abbot lived in a palace and the monks had the use of substantial buildings, cloisters, a garden and a vineyard. Little by little, the life of the community ceased to be a monastic one, particularly once the abbots became commendatory and were nominated by the king. The abbey's temporal power continued, but its spiritual life evaporated.
In 1562, during the French Wars of Religion, the troops of the Baron des Adrets destroyed part of the buildings, including the cloister; the church was badly damaged. In 1600, King Henry IV of France stayed at the abbey on the occasion of his marriage to Marie de' Medici which took place in Lyon Cathedral.

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Additional Photos by Csaba Witz (csabagaba) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 590 W: 167 N: 1409] (6638)
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