Notre-Dame de la Garde, known to local citizens as la Bonne Mère, is a Catholic basilica in Marseille, and the city's best-known symbol. It was built on the foundations of an ancient fort at the highest natural point in Marseille, a 149 m limestone outcropping on the south side of the Old Port of Marseille.
Construction of the basilica began in 1853 and lasted for over forty years. It was originally an enlargement of a medieval chapel but was transformed into a new structure at the request of Father Bernard, the chaplain. The plans were made and developed by the architect Henri-Jacques Espérandieu. It was consecrated while still unfinished on 5 June 1864. The basilica consists of a lower church or crypt in the Romanesque style, carved from the rock, and an upper church of Neo-Byzantine style decorated with mosaics. A square 41 m bell tower topped by a 12.5 m belfry supports a monumental 11.2 m statue of the Madonna and Child, made of copper gilded with gold leaf.
The exterior of the building features layered stonework in contrasting colours: white Calissane limestone alternates with green sandstone from Golfolina near Florence. Marble and pictorial mosaics in various colours decorate the upper church. A 35 m double staircase leads to a drawbridge, granting access to the crypt and, via another set of stairs, to the church's main entrance.
The entrance hall under the bell tower features marble statues of Bishop Eugène de Mazenod and Pope Pius IX, both carved by Joseph-Marius Ramus. Staircases on both sides of the entrance lead to the church above.
The Romanesque crypt is composed of a nave with low barrel vaults, bordered by six side chapels corresponding exactly to those of the upper church. Unlike the upper church, the crypt is dim and somber. The side chapels contain plaques with the names of various donors. The side altars are devoted to saints Philomena, Andrew, Rose, Henry, Louis and Benedict Labre.
The main altar was built of Golfolina stone with columns of Spanish marble. Behind the altar is a statue of the Madonna holding a bouquet, the Vierge au Bouquet. Joseph-Elie Escaramagne obtained this statue for the original chapel in 1804. At first the Madonna held a sceptre, but due to the sceptre's poor condition, it was replaced by flowers. Two staircases flanking the main altar lead to the sacristy buildings and the choir above, but they are off-limits to the public.
The nave's interior is 32.7 m long and 14 m wide. The interior is decorated with 1,200 m2 of mosaics as well as alternating red and white marble columns and pilasters. The mosaics were created between 1886 and 1892 by the Mora company from Nimes.References:
Goryōkaku (五稜郭) (literally, 'five-point fort') is a star fort in the Japanese city of Hakodate on the island of Hokkaido. The fortress was completed in 1866. It was the main fortress of the short-lived Republic of Ezo.
Goryōkaku was designed in 1855 by Takeda Ayasaburō and Jules Brunet. Their plans was based on the work of the French architect Vauban. The fortress was completed in 1866, two years before the collapse of the Tokugawa Shogunate. It is shaped like a five-pointed star. This allowed for greater numbers of gun emplacements on its walls than a traditional Japanese fortress, and reduced the number of blind spots where a cannon could not fire.
The fort was built by the Tokugawa shogunate to protect the Tsugaru Strait against a possible invasion by the Meiji government.
Goryōkaku is famous as the site of the last battle of the Boshin War.