The island of Maguelone (insula Magdalona), insulated formerly between the ponds and the sea, sheltered, as of the VI ème century, the seat of one éveché famous in the history of the church of the Middle Ages.maguelone1

The cathedral of Maguelone is a major testimony of the Languedocien Romanesque art. It is a strengthened cathedral which with the characteristic to be built on an island.
It was one of the 7 episcopal sees of Septimanie, with Agde, Lodève, Nimes, Béziers, Narbonne and Elne, thus proving its importance in the medieval Christian world.

The island, is attached since to the firm ground by a sandy Lido, and the cathedral throne in the middle of glazing bar of pines, a such immense failed stone vessel, between sea and ponds. This strange situation is worth to him the name of “the cathedral of sands”.


Constuite at the time of the wisigothic domination (VI ème century), devastated by Arabic with the VII ème and destroyed by the frank ones of Charles Martel into 732, the first cathedral was to be given up by the évèques ones until the beginning of the XI ème century because of the insecurity of the littoral. Those found refuge on the firm ground: the antique oppidum of Sextantio, not far from a modest village which was going quickly to thrive, Montpellier.


About 1030, after three centuries of abandonment, the Arnaud bishop undertook the rebuilding of a new cathedral of which there still remains the tower Martin saint. The last church was built during the XII ème, much vaster than the preceding ones. (


A gigantic bridge connected Maguelone to the firm ground, of almost one km length. However, the bishops took the practice to reside in Montpellier, and it was abandoned.

The western gate, which opened formerly at the bottom of a narrow passage prolonged by two turns, presents a curious Romance carved decoration using ancient marbles.


The interior of the building is impressive by its imposing proportions: a single nave of 12m, the side05_08_52__854x1200_walls a considerable thickness, powerful beams, two turns which flank the bedside, a light distributed by rare borings, capitals decorated with sheets of acanthus (with the exeption of only one, southern angle/, is decorated with scratch winged).

One restored in the apse the old Romance furnace bridge.

A thing is sure: the church is really pleasant to visit, perhaps because it y forever nobody, and that I had time to feel it well…

Ah yes, another thing: there is always, on each side of the furnace bridge, the feathers of peacock…

The peacock can represent several symbols: for the first Christians, it is considered in a benevolent way because its flesh passed to be imputrescible like the body of Christ to the tomb. the fall and pushes back it its feathers in spring was interpreted like symbol of revival and resurrection. It is thus necessary to see the peacock like symbol of immortality.


According to a popular belief, the blood of the peacock also passed to draw aside the demons. The peacock was often represented on the images of the nativity. Two peacocks drinking with a cut indicate the spiritual rebirth and the wings of the angels are often in feathers of peacock.

The feather, symbol of justice among Egyptians, to which the weight is enough to break balance, is associated a lunar symbol representing the growth of the vegetation. Symbol of air power, the ascentionnelle force of the feather releases the man of gravities of this world. But also solar symbol in the feather of peacock, related to the deployment of its tail in the shape of wheel.

Remlug has just passed a bond to me which is worth the turning on the significance of the symbols in architecture:

From the telluric point of view, the cathedral is crossed south in north by a powerful current coming from Africa. Arising from the building, it continues towards Montpellier, Aniane, Saint Guilhem the desert, Rodez, Aurillac and Clermont-Ferrand.