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Saint Papoul Abbey

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Saint Papoul Abbey - a part of a former Episcopal City - is located in the homonym village, in the heart of the Cathar Country, some 37 km (23 mi) northwest of Carcassonne.
The abbey was declared a national historic monument in 1840.
Saint Papoul Abbey was founded in the 8th century by Benedictine monks. It takes the name after Saint Papoul , a hermit who lived in the region in the 5th century and who died a martyr death having the top of his head cut out with a sword. The tradition says that the place of his death - called "Ermitage" and situated some 3km away from the village - was marked by a blood spot that remained visible until the 18th century. Nowadays the place is marked by a chapel that is the destination of a procession that takes place the second Sunday after Easter, each year.
The cathedral and the monastic buildings were built in the 11 and 12th century and decorated by the works of the famous 12th century sculptor Cabestany.
The beautiful cloister, a location dedicated to prayers and meditation, was built in the 14th century. It is bordered by arcades supported by twin pillars, many topped by beautifully sculpted capitals representing plants, animals and some religious scenes.

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