Statues in France

Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe de l"Étoile is one of the most famous monuments in Paris. It stands in the centre of the Place Charles de Gaulle (originally named Place de l"Étoile), at the western end of the Champs-Élysées. It should not be confused with a smaller arch, the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, which stands west of the Louvre. The Arc de Triomphe honours those who fought and died for Fr ...
Founded: 1806 | Location: Paris, France

Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel is a triumphal arch built between 1806 and 1808 to commemorate Napoleon"s military victories of the previous year. The monument is 19m high. Around its exterior are eight Corinthian columns of marble, topped by eight soldiers of the Empire. The upper frieze on the on entablement has sculptures of soldiers: Auguste Marie Taunay"s cuirassier (left), Charles-Louis Corbet"s dra ...
Founded: 1806 | Location: Paris, France

Arles Obelisk

The Obélisque d"Arles is a 4th-century Roman obelisk, erected in the center of the Place de la République, in front of the town hall of Arles. The obelisk is made of granite from Asia Minor. It does not feature any inscription. Its height together with its pedestal is approximately 20 m. The obelisk was first erected under the Roman emperor Constantine II in the center of the spina of the Roman circus ...
Founded: 300-400 AD | Location: Arles, France

The Burghers of Calais

Les Bourgeois de Calais is one of the most famous sculptures by Auguste Rodin, completed in 1889. It serves as a monument to an occurrence in 1347 during the Hundred Years" War, when Calais, an important French port on the English Channel, was under siege by the English for over a year. Calais commissioned Rodin to create the sculpture in 1884. The City of Calais had attempted to erect a statue of Eustache de Saint ...
Founded: 1889 | Location: Calais, France

Wellington Quarry

20 metres below the pavements of Arras is the Wellington Quarry, a site immersed in memory and emotion. In November 1916, the British started preparing for the 1917 spring offensive. Their stroke of genius: to have the New Zealand tunnellers connect up the town’s chalk extraction tunnels to create a real network of underground barracks large enough to accommodate up to 24,000 soldiers. After a 20-metre descent in a ...
Founded: 1916 | Location: Arras, France

Pagode de Chanteloup

Two kilometres south of Amboise, the curious Pagode de Chanteloup was built between 1775 and 1778. The ‘Duke of Choiseul’s Folly’ or ‘Friendship monument’ was built after his exile from King Louis XV’s court as a token of his gratitude towards his loyal friends who stood by him. Clamber to the top for glorious views of the surrounding park and the forested Loire Valley. Picnic hampers a ...
Founded: 1775-1778 | Location: Amboise, France

Verdun Memorial

The Verdun Memorial is a war memorial to commemorate the Battle of Verdun, fought in 1916 as part of the First World War. It is situated on the battlefield, close to the destroyed village of Fleury-devant-Douaumont. It was built during the 1960s, financed by Maurice Genevoix and has been open to the public since September 17, 1967. It remembers both French and German combatants as well as the civilian populations lost du ...
Founded: 1967 | Location: Douaumont, France

Column of the Grande Armée

The Column of the Grande Armée is a 53 metre high Doric order triumphal column (modelled on Trajan"s Column and other triumphal columns in Rome). It was intended to commemorate a successful invasion of England (an invasion that never occurred), but it now commemorates the first distribution of the Imperial Légion d"honneur at the 'camp de Boulogne', by Napoleon to the soldiers of the Army ...
Founded: 1804/1841 | Location: Wimille, France

Battle of Agincourt Memorial

Azincourt (Agincourt in English) is a town where the key battle of the Hundred Years War took place here on October 25, 1415, in which English outnumbered forces under Henry V defeated a French army. It has gone down in legend as one of England"s greatest military victories. Henry"s army lost between 200 to 400 men (including the Duke of York and the Earl of Suffolk), while French casualties were estimated as hi ...
Founded: 1415 | Location: Maisoncelle, France

Battle of Crécy Memorial

Memorial of the battle of Crécy (26 August 1346) was built in the place of a windmill where the king of England waited for the attack of the king of France. The battle of Crécy was one of the most important battles of the Hundred Years" War because of the combination of new weapons and tactics used. The English knights knew the importance of being willing to fight dismounted elbow to elbow with the pike ...
Founded: 1346 | Location: Crécy-en-Ponthieu, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.