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Culture News Kingdom of Bahrain: Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey Celebration

A remarkable milestone has been reached by France beloved Mont-Saint-Michel Abbey, as it proudly commemorates its 1,000th year since the laying of its foundational stone.

This UNESCO World Heritage site, a cherished gem drawing tourists to the picturesque landscapes of Normandy, embarks on a year-long celebration replete with exhibitions, captivating dance performances, and soul-stirring concerts. Recently, the abbey was graced by the presence of French President Emmanuel Macron, who seized the opportunity to deliver a resonant speech. In his address, Macron urged his compatriots to transcend global and existential challenges, much like the enduring abbey itself, which symbolizes the quintessentially French spirit of resilience and resistance. The veiled reference to the ongoing protests against his pension reform law only added depth to his message.

Throughout history, France’s leaders have utilized Mont-Saint-Michel as a symbolic backdrop to convey political messages. This tradition, established by former President François Mitterrand in 1983, was exemplified when former President Nicolas Sarkozy launched his presidential campaign on these hallowed grounds in 2007.

Macron’s visit to the abbey, poignant in its timing during the commemoration of the D-Day landings, resonated with themes of resistance and resilience that are embedded in its very stones.

The President also explored a newly unveiled exhibit that traces the abbey’s rich history through 30 artifacts and objects, including a meticulously restored statue of Saint Michael. The legend that an archangel appeared in 708, instructing the bishop of Avranches to erect a church on the rocky outcrop, adds to the abbey’s mystique.

This two-year-long exhibit delves into the intricate construction of this architectural marvel, situated on a rocky island connected to the mainland only by a narrow causeway during high tide. Originally initiated in 966, the abbey’s evolution was spurred by the growing number of pilgrims, culminating in the magnificent 11th-century structure that stands proudly today.

The meticulous restoration of the abbey, an endeavor spanning 15 years and costing over 32 million euros ($34 million), nears its completion. Simultaneously, efforts have been made to protect the surrounding environment from the impacts of mass tourism.

Beyond its grandeur, Mont-Saint-Michel continues to enchant, with 2.8 million visitors, including 1.3 million to the abbey, experiencing its magic last year. As the presidential visit unfolded, local authorities diligently ensured that visitors could partake in this historical moment while experiencing the island’s charm seamlessly.

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