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Le Puy  

Walter Cahn

French city in Haute-Loire. Best known for its Romanesque sculpture, surviving work includes the cathedral of Notre-Dame with its baptistery and cloister, the chapels of St Clair and St Michel d’Aiguilhe, and the church of St Martin, Polignac. The cathedral, an imposing structure with a rectangular choir, projecting transept, and aisled nave of six bays, dominates the city. St Michel d’Aiguilhe, which stands on a volcanic peak near by, has a square core, with apses on three sides, that was enlarged in the Romanesque period with an irregularly shaped ambulatory and short nave. St Clair, located within the precinct of the former hospice of St Nicolas, in the same suburb, is an octagonal chapel with a semicircular eastern apse. The parish church of St Martin, Polignac, situated some 6 km north-west of Le Puy, was originally a dependency of Pébrac Abbey. Four bays of the Romanesque nave remain, terminated by a choir with triple apses. Fragments of sculpture found along the perimeter of the cathedral, which derive from other no longer identifiable structures, are preserved in the Musée Crozatier. The most common material is a local variety of soft-grained sandstone, which resists erosion poorly, with the occasional use of a local basalt. The study of the development of this sculpture is impeded by the virtual absence of secure documentary evidence and the substantial alterations to the appearance and fabric of the buildings made during the extensive 19th-century restorations....

Article

María Dolores Díaz Vaquero and M. C. Lacarra Ducay

[anc. Pompaelo]

Spanish city, capital of the old kingdom and present province of Navarre, situated in the north-east of Spain in the foothills of the Pyrenees. It is especially known for its Romanesque cathedral and for its roles as an ecclesiastical centre, on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, and as a powerful fortress town that defended the northern approaches to Spain.

María Dolores Díaz Vaquero

The city of Pompaelo was founded near the town of Iruña, now part of Pamplona, by the Romans in 74 bc, in a pass through the Pyrenees that made it the centre of numerous territorial disputes. Its growing importance is attested by the establishment there of an episcopal see in the 6th century AD, and after a period in Arab hands the city was reconquered by the Christians in the 8th century. It was sacked by Charlemagne in 778, but in the 9th century it became the capital of Navarre. Pamplona remained unstable, however, until Charles III (...

Article

Minott Kerr

French town in Burgundy, known for its Romanesque basilica. The church is now dedicated to the Sacré-Coeur. The counts of Chalon founded a monastery dedicated to the Virgin and St John the Baptist at Paray-le-Monial in ad 973 and gave it to the Cluny Abbey in 999. Its original location is uncertain, but by the last quarter of the 11th century the complex stood on its present site on the banks of the River Bourbince. The construction of the church has traditionally been linked to St Hugh, Abbot of Cluny (1049–1109), but although he was related to the founders and reportedly performed two miracles at Paray, there is no indication that he took any special interest in the priory. Visions experienced by the Visitation nun St Margaret Mary Alacoque in the 1670s and 1680s made Paray the centre for the cult of the Sacred Heart. With the consecration of France to the Sacred Heart in ...

Article

Pécs  

Melinda Tóth

[Ger. Fünfkirchen]

Town in south-west Hungary. Now an industrial and cultural centre with several university institutes, it has significant medieval remains, including fragments of the sculptural programme of its Romanesque cathedral. There are also several museums, including the Csontváry Museum, which houses works by the painter Tivadar Csontváry.

Remains from the Neolithic period onwards have been discovered, but the first significant settlement was the Roman town of Sopianae, whose street-plan underlay the western part of the medieval city. Three of the 4th-century Early Christian mausolea contain wall paintings. During the Migration period the ruined town was occupied by nomadic peoples. Pécs became an episcopal see in 1009, after the foundation of the Hungarian state (c. 1000), and the town remained in the possession of the bishop until the second half of the 18th century. The Turkish occupation of Pécs from 1543 to 1686 caused great destruction as well as a cultural break, and many of the medieval monuments are known only from drawings and excavations....

Article

Pisa  

Alessandra Anselmi, Rossella Caruso, Antonio Caleca, Anabel Thomas and John Richards

Italian city in Tuscany. An important medieval trading port at the mouth of the River Arno, Pisa was the centre of a distinctive and influential style of Romanesque architecture, and its wealth, derived from commercial activity all over the Mediterranean area, attracted a number of important artists to the city.

The city’s name, Etruscan in origin, means ‘mouth’ or ‘outlet’. The earliest settlement grew up near the sea, probably in the 6th century bc, on islands in the lagoon on the river plain at the junction of the rivers Arno and Auser (now Serchio). By the 10th century ad the coastline had already receded by 6 km; Pisa is now 12 km inland. The accumulation of alluvial deposits did not, however, prevent the development of a flourishing maritime trade.

The settlement was conquered by the Romans in 230 bc; they altered the topography by dividing the surrounding land into centuriae...

Article

Vác  

Barbra Ruckriegel Egerváry

[formerly Ger. Weitzen]

Town in Hungary 35 km north of Budapest on the left bank of the Danube. In the 11th century an episcopal see was established there by Stephen I (reg 997–1038), who built a fortified Romanesque castle and cathedral. After the town was invaded by the Mongols in 1241, Béla IV (reg 1235–70) rebuilt the castle and had the fortifications strengthened. In the 14th century the cathedral was rebuilt in Gothic style, and at the end of the 15th century Bishop Miklós Báthori had the town redesigned in Renaissance style and a new cathedral built. From 1544 to 1686 Vác was ruled by the Turks. After they were driven out, the ruined town was again rebuilt in the 18th century by the bishops of Vác.

Plans for the 18th-century cathedral, the most important building in Vác, were drawn up by Franz Anton Pilgram under the direction of Bishop Károly Esterházy. Although construction did not begin until ...