May 2019 - Lourdes France
Click here for the Underground Basilica located on the same grounds.
Say what I will about Lourdes, this was magnificent.
The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes or the Domain (as it is most commonly known) is an area of ground surrounding the Catholic shrine (Grotto) to Our Lady of Lourdes. The Sanctuary is a destination for pilgrimage; sick pilgrims are reputed to be miraculously healed by Lourdes water. This ground is owned and administered by the Roman Catholic Church, and has several functions, including devotional activities, offices, and accommodation for sick pilgrims and their helpers. The Domain includes the Grotto itself, the nearby taps which dispense the Lourdes water, and the offices of the Lourdes Medical Bureau, as well as several churches and basilicas. It comprises an area of 51 hectares, and includes 22 separate places of worship. There are six official languages of the Sanctuary: French, English, Italian, Spanish, Dutch and German.
The open space in front of the Rosary Basilica is known as Rosary Square.
The entrances to the Crypt and the Upper Basilica, both of which are built on top of Massabielle, are far above ground level. To facilitate access, two enormous ramps were constructed, which curve down either side of Rosary Square. The image of the entrance of the Rosary Basilica, flanked by the two ramps and surmounted by the spires of the Upper Basilica, has become one of the iconic symbols of Lourdes, and a stylised form of this image has been adopted by the Domain itself as its logo.
The Statue of the Crowned Virgin, often known as the "Crowned Statue" (French: La Vierge Couronnée), stands across Rosary Square from the Rosary Basilica and faces the entrance. This prominent statue is a familiar landmark and a traditional meeting point. The statue is 2.5m high and cast in bronze, painted white and blue in the traditional colours. Her rosary is of the Birgittine style and incorporates six decades.
Behind the Crowned Statue is the Esplanade, a large open walkway which is used for the processions.
The Stations of the Cross are amazing. From the photos we obviously walked the wrong way.