Albi Cathedral or the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Cecilia--page 1 (of two pages)


Church as fortress

This imposing-looking church was built as a signal of power after the Albigensian Crusade, an early 13th century war the Catholic Church waged against the Cathar heretics. This large church is built entirely of brick since good local stone was not available; it claims to be the largest brick building in the world. Bernard de Castanet (1277-1307), Bishop of Albi and Inquisitor of Languedoc, began the construction of the cathedral, although it was decades after his death before the construction was completed.

Rounded buttresses, which look like fortifications, and narrow lancet windows


The south porch, added by Bishop Dominique de Florence in about 1392

This elaborately sculpted stone stands in dramatic contrast with the plain brick walls.
The ornate, Flamboyant Gothic baldaquin over the south door dates from the 16th century.

The west front

The cathedral culminates at the west end in a great tiered belfry standing 78 meters (256 ft) tall.

Continue to page 2: Interior.

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© 2017 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site) and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.