The Benedictine Sorde Abbey in the village Sorde-l’Abbaye was founded at the end of the 10th century on the banks of the Gave d’Oloron river. This remarkable architectural ensemble overlooks a natural setting that is now protected.
The abbot’s residence from the 14th and 15th centuries was built on the remains of a Roman villa (3rd- 6th centuries). Currently being restored, the building is open to the public during the National Archaeology Days and European Heritage Days: tour of the thermal baths and ancient mosaics.
The monastery buildings were rebuilt at the end of the 17th century. They are open to the public from March to November.The abbey church's the tympanum, decorative capitals, Romanesque period mosaics and an impressive 18th century marble high altar are some of the most interesting works. A miniature model shows what the abbey looked like before it was last destroyed.
Sorde Abbey is listed as an Historic Monument and has been included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List as part of the Pilgrim’s Route in France to Santiago de Compostela.References:
The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.
The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick.