The Basilica of Our Lady of Brebières is a Roman Catholic Basilica designed by Edmond Duthoit in 1897. The structure was completely destroyed during shelling in World War I and rebuilt by the original architect's son Louis Duthoit from 1927 to 1931. The Golden Virgin sculpture deisigned by Albert Roze sits atop the dome of the Basilica and became an object of fascination during World War I.
Pope Leo XIII granted a decree of Pontifical coronation to the venerated image enshrined within on 19 June 1901. Pious legends among soldiers at the time claimed a superstitious prophecy that when a German missile hits the prominent Marian statue above the church, the First World War would finally end.
The Basilica started out as a parish church. In the 11th century many Catholics made pilgrimages to the parish church on the site to see a statue called Our Lady of the Ewes according to legend it had been found by a shepherd in the Middle Ages. Catholics passed around rumors of miracles related to the statue. In 1834 Pope Gregory XVI noticed the growth of the statue's legend and built a larger church at the location. Throughout the years grander churches were built and finally the Basilica of Our Lady of Brebières. A new large statue of Marian Art entitled The Golden Virgin was attached to the dome.
The sculpture was fastened to the 76 m bell tower. Starting in 1918, by canon law number 1180, no Catholic church can be honoured with the title of basilica unless by apostolic grant or from immemorial custom.
The Golden Virgin sculpture which stood on the dome of the Basilica was damaged During Battle of Albert 1914. In 1914 the French and Germans staged their troops in Albert, France and the German troops suspected that the French may use the bell tower as an observation post to direct military maneuvers, so beginning in October 2014 they shelled the dome.
By 7 January 1915 the dome was destroyed and by 21 January 1915 the base of The Golden Virgin was hit and the statue was knocked sideways past 90 degrees.
The Madonna and Child statue above the dome was damaged, separated, recast and placed upon the newly reconstructed basilica.
Below the basilica is the museum of Somme battle of 1916. It housed in an underground passage, 250m long (dug by Clergy in the 13th century), linking the square to the garden-arboretum. It gives you a good idea of what life must have been like for soldiers in the trenches.References:
The Walled City of Jajce is a medieval fortified nucleus of Jajce in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with citadel high above town on top of pyramidal-shaped steep hill, enclosed with approximately 1,300 metres long defensive walls,. It is one of the best preserved fortified capitals of the Bosnian Kingdom, the last stronghold before the kingdom dissolved under the pressure of military advancement at the onset of Ottoman Empire takeover.
The entire complex of the Walled city of Jajce, with the citadel, city ramparts, watchtower Medvjed-kula, and two main city gate-towers lies on the southern slope of a large rocky pyramid at the confluence of the rivers Pliva and Vrbas, enclosed by these rivers from the south-southwest, with the bed of the Pliva, and east-southeast by the river Vrbas gorge.
The fortress was built by Hrvoje Vukčić Hrvatinić, the founder of Jajce. However, the city became the seat of the Bosnian kings, hence the royal coat of arms decoration on the citadel entrance. A part of the wall was built by the Hungarian King, while the Ottomans erected the powder magazine. The walls are high and the castle was built on a hill that is egg shaped, the rivers Pliva and Vrbas also protect the castle. There is no rampart on the south and west.
Jajce was first built in the 14th century and served as the capital of the independent Kingdom of Bosnia during its time. The town has gates as fortifications, as well as a castle with walls which lead to the various gates around the town. About 10–20 kilometres from Jajce lies the Komotin Castle and town area which is older but smaller than Jajce. It is believed the town of Jajce was previously Komotin but was moved after the Black Death.
The first reference to the name of Jajce in written sources is from the year 1396, but the fortress had already existed by then. Jajce was the residence of the last Bosnian king Stjepan Tomasevic; the Ottomans besieged the town and executed him, but held it only for six months, before the Hungarian King Matthias Corvinus seized it at the siege of Jajce and established the Banovina of Jajce.
Skenderbeg Mihajlović besieged Jajce in 1501, but without success because he was defeated by Ivaniš Korvin assisted by Zrinski, Frankopan, Karlović and Cubor.
During this period, Queen Catherine restored the Saint Mary"s Church in Jajce, today the oldest church in town. Eventually, in 1527, Jajce became the last Bosnian town to fall to Ottoman rule. The town then lost its strategic importance, as the border moved further north and west.
Jajce passed with the rest of Bosnia and Herzegovina under the administration of Austria-Hungary in 1878. The Franciscan monastery of Saint Luke was completed in 1885.
The Walled city of Jajce is located at the confluence of the Pliva and Vrbas rivers. It was founded and started developing in the Middle Ages and acquired its final form during the Ottoman period. There are several churches and mosques built in different times during different rules, making Jajce a rather diverse town in this aspect. It is declared National Monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and, as the old Jajce city core, including the waterfall, and other individual sites outside the walled city perimeter, such as the Jajce Mithraeum, it is designated as The natural and architectural ensemble of Jajce and proposed as such for inscription into the UNESCO"s World Heritage Site list. The bid for inscription is currently placed on the UNESCO Tentative list.