Mont Sainte-Odile: Celtic magic and Merovingian tombs
Monastery of Saint Odile on Mount Odilenberg (Altona) of the 9th century - - an oasis of mystical and sacred ecstasy of the ancient Celts and ritual places of sacrifice by the Druids. The third most important religious place in France, the sarcophagus with the relics of St. Odile. A magnificent panorama of Alsace from a height of more than 700 meters. The former castle of the Merovingian nobility of 8-10 centuries.
The famous Alsace Wine Route begins with a picturesque medieval village founded at the beginning of the XII century, and is the domain of the German imperial dynasty of Hohenstaufen. The Romanesque church of Saints Peter and Paul from rare yellow sandstone was erected by medieval architects during the time of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa and is still a unique monument of Romanesque architecture.
The central street of the ancient village has been part of the trade route since Roman times and a segment of the road of medieval pilgrims who held their way to Rome, Santiago de Compostela and Jerusalem. It immediately opens an impressive view of the mountain range, drowning in the bluish haze of the majestic Vosges Mountains. If you look closely at the contours of the mountains, then on one of the flat peaks you can clearly see solid monumental monastery buildings: This is the ancient abbey of St. Odile of Alsace, one of the main cult centers of the entire Christian world, existing from the beginning of IX centuries on top of the ancient Celtic mountain Allitona.
The stones on the top of the mountain still remember the days when the ancient Celts owned these vast territories and their magical priests-druids at the time of the full moon gathered the shoots of the holy mistletoe with the help of golden sickles to prepare a ritual drink for sacred mysteries, accompanied by human sacrifices. According to legend, the monumental fragments of the "pagan wall" -Mur paien, consisting of huge boulders overgrown with hundred-year-old moss, were created by the Celts to protect their territories from Roman legions and raids of other warlike peoples.
Saint Odile is today the spiritual patroness and heavenly protector of Alsace. The monastery, located on the ancient Celtic mountain of Allitona, is currently the third most important religious center in France, after the Sanctuary in Lourdes and the monastery-island of Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy. An interesting fact: In the 9th century, Emperor Charles the Great specially opened the sarcophagus of St. Odile in the Hohenburg Abbey in order to take a particle of her hand as a relic.
The atmosphere of this place is really unusual and mystical. Every year more than two million people visit this place of worship. Everyone is looking for and, apparently, finds something here.
You feel incredible every time you go up to a height of almost eight hundred meters and see the thousand-year-old boulders, still remembering the sacred rituals of the Celts and the tread of the Roman legions, huge oaks and pines in the ancient forest, and an incomparable view of the picturesque landscape of the vast vineyards of Alsace near the foot of the mountains.
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