Friday, June 28, 2013

Remember The Timeless King Of France: Saint Louis

 Saint Louis in America, Canada..... and Tunisia 

On the peak of Byrsa, a hill in Carthage, a coastal suburb of Tunis, a cathedral is located among the Roman ruins scattered throughout the ancient city.
Now the structure - today known as the Acropolium - is no longer used as a place of worship, but as a venue for concerts. The cathedral now features a variety of Tunisian and international musical performances.
This building evokes memories of one of the most pivotal conflicts between Muslims and Christians - the Crusades.


The Cathedral 1890
In 1270, King of France Louis IX, or Saint Louis, left his kingdom and landed in Carthage - an event now referred to by historians as the beginning of the Eighth Crusade. However, the king was so sick and weak that he could barely hold his shield and sword. Three weeks later he died, and a small chapel was built. Today the site is still frequented by French and international tourists.
Saint Louis Statue Carthage Museum

In 1830, the ruling Bey of the Tunisian Monarchy Al-Hussein II ibn Mahmud, authorized the consul of France to erect a cathedral dedicated to the king few meters from the chapel marking his burial site. The French consul sent a letter to Tunisia's former monarch stating the following:
Praise to god, to whom all things return!
We cede in perpetuity to His Majesty the King of France a location in Malaga, sufficient to raise a religious monument in honor of King Louis IX at the place where the prince died.
We commit ourselves to respect and to make respected this monument consecrated by the king of France to the memory of one of his most illustrious ancestors. Greetings from the servant of God, Hussein Pasha Bey. May the Most High be propitious! Amen.
The 17th of Safar of the year 1246. Done at Bardo the 8th of August 1830. For the Consul-General Mathieu de Lesseps.
After several examinations, officials charged with determining the location of the cathedral's construction concluded that it would be built on the ruins of the Roman Carthage in Byrsa.
The layout of the structure is typical of a French 19th century Byzantine-Moorish cathedral. The construction style - resembling a Latin cross - spread throughout France in the 19th century. The building is 65 meters long by 30 meters wide, with a facade framed by two square towers. The center of the cathedral's cross-section lies beneath a large cupola surrounded by eight steeples, and a smaller cupola is located above the apse.
The church contains a nave and two aisles separated by arches passing above. The ceiling is adorned with beams featuring sculpted, painted, and gilt arabesques. The stained glass is also embellished with arabesques
Inside the Cathedral
. The cathedral also hosts a great bell, weighing six tons, in addition to a four-bell carillon.
Today, the cathedral is open for visitors. The entrance fee is four Tunisian dinars, and is paid separately from those tickets offering package deals of the other sites in Carthage.