Abbaye de Saint Martin d'Ainay, Lyon

4.6
#100 of 407 in Things to do in Lyon
The Basilica of Saint-Martin d'Ainay is a Romanesque church in Ainay in the Presqu'île district in the historic centre of Lyon, FranceHistoryLegendLegendary origins of a remarkably large church, which may once have stood on this site, are noted by Gregory of Tours and may be connected to the account of Eusebius, in his Historia Ecclesiae, of the martyrdom of Blandina, the young girl among 48 Christians fed to lions by the Romans in 177 in Lyon's amphitheatre. The lions refused to eat her, according to Eusebius: she and the others were martyred nevertheless. Their bones were burnt, thrown into the river, and washed up downstream where the surviving Christians of the community buried them secretly beneath the altar of what Gregory calls a "basilica of remarkable magnitude." Other candidates for the martyrs' basilica site include the Church of Saint Nizier, upstream, and Lyon Cathedral across the Saône.Ainay AbbeyA 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 Romanesque churches still extant in Lyon.
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  • Once a powerful Abbey, it was endowed with a Palace and ramparts in the 14Th century. Ruined in 1562, it was restored in 1830 by architect Jean Pollet (1795-1839), retaining its 11th-century Romanesque basilical type.
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  • Romanesque Church which is located between the Via Victor Hugo and La Saona, behind the widening with the monument to the physicist Ampère. The Church dates back to the year 1107, but inside has undergone several successive reconstructions, so you will find Romanesque elements originating from the time that coexist with structures and later works, until the NINETEENTH century. In the place where the church rises, several other religious buildings have followed before it, as it was once the confluence of the Rhone with the Saona, then moved further south by the engineer Perrache. Externally, in my opinion the most interesting part is the apse, very articulated; The remarkable gable of the decollation of St. John the Baptist (XII century) placed on the outside, next to the façade, is actually a cast of the original that for a few years has been moved inside. Internally, apart from the original tympanum, the oldest parts are the nave and presbytery dating back to the XII century (valuable decorations of the capitals of the choir while the 4 mighty pillars supporting the dome come from an altar Roman Augustan who was on the hill of Croix-Rousse) and the chapel of Sainte Blandine, even more ancient than the foundation of the church (albeit heavily remodelled), which is located at the bottom of DX; Also the capitals of the small columns in the compartment where the baptistery (built in the NINETEENTH century in Romanesque style) are placed date back to the ELEVENTH century and come from the Abbey of L'ile Barbe. Under the chapel of Saint Blandine there is a very small crypt, with no special interest.
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  • Wonderful church! Must visit 😊
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