The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is a pilgrimage destination; sick pilgrims are reputed to be miraculously healed by Lourdes water. This ground is owned and administrated 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.
Beginning on 11 February 1858, a 14-year-old peasant girl named Bernadette Soubirous claimed to have experienced a series of apparitions of a girl dressed in white and with a blue belt around her waist, who eventually introduced herself as the Immaculate Conception, a name by which the Virgin Mary was known.
The first sanctuary to be built was the Crypt, which is below the Basilica of the Immaculate conception. Construction started in 1863 and was consecrated in 1866. The second sanctuary to be built was the Basilica of the Immaculate conception also known as the Upper Basilica. It rises above the one of the Rosary and the Crypt. the construction began in 1866 and was completed and open for worship in 1871.
The third sanctuary to be built was the Rosary Basilica, Our Lady of the Rosary was successfully concluded thirty years after the Apparitions 1883 to 1889 and had great restoration work and improvements were carried out in 2006. The interior of the Rosary Basilica is impressive with a mosaic of the Immaculate conception and mosaics depicting the fifteen Mysteries of the Rosary.
The fourth and fifth sanctuaries to be built were the Basilica of Saint Pius X and the church of Saint Bernadette. The Basilica of Saint Pius X is underground and colossal, the shape resembles an overturned boat. The church of Saint Bernadette is the newest construction and holds 5,000 people and took 7 months to build in 1988 it a very modern and spacious building.
The heart of the sanctuary is the Grotto of the Massabielle. Pilgrims from all over the world come to Lourdes to pray at the spot where Mary appeared to Bernadette Soubirious. The name Massabielle Means 'old Rock'References:
The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.
The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.
Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.
The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.
Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.
The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.
During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.
In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.