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State House of Disabled – a functioning rehabilitation center for French war invalids, as well as an architectural monument and a place where the tombs of prominent military leaders of France are concentrated.
The history of this building began during the life of Louis XIV, who ordered the construction of a House for war invalids. In fact, it was the construction of the first invalid home in Europe. The beginning of construction began in 1670, the last modifications of the facade were made in 1677. Pensioners began to move into this house after 4 years after the start of construction.
Initially, the House of Invalids was considered as an almshouse, where war-crippled soldiers would find a permanent home and care. According to the plans, the House was supposed to accommodate 4000 people, in fact, there were about 1500 places for permanent residence.
By the beginning of the 18th century, the House of Invalids had expanded so much that it could be safely called a city within a city ... Under the leadership of senior officers, war veterans lived here, working in a variety of craft workshops. Here carpets, tapestries, shoes and a number of other goods were made.
Napoleon Bonaparte chose the House of Invalids as a place for the presentation of the very first awards of the Order of the Legion of Honor.
By the end of the 19th century, three museums were established here: the Museum of Models of Fortresses and Castles, the Museum of Artillery and the Museum of the History of the French Army. The last two museums in 1905 were merged into one called the Army Museum. There is also the Museum of Modern History – the only museum in France, where exhibits are collected, one way or another reflecting the entire XX century.
The architecture of the House of Invalids is striking: it is a fairly long facade, preceded by a vast lawn and square. The facade is decorated with columns, which add to the overall architectural style of classicism. The center of the ensemble is the Cathedral of the House of Invalids. The gilded dome of the cathedral rises ten meters above the main building.
Many prominent military figures of France are buried in the crypt of the cathedral, including Napoleon Bonaparte, whose tomb is located in a separate room of the crypt.
Catacombs of Paris
Paris Catacombs – a winding network of underground tunnels, forming a kind of ossuary or ossuary with the remains of many people. According to the most conservative estimates of bones and skulls there are more than six million people.
The tunnels have an unnatural origin, all of them are the remaining passages of quarries that arose in Paris in the 10th century. Over the course of several centuries, the underground passages deepened and widened. Abandoned tunnels have been used for a variety of needs. For example, several monastic orders adapted the catacombs for wine cellars.
By the 17th century, the quarries had expanded so much that several Parisian streets were threatened with collapse. It was decided to establish a General Inspectorate for Quarries. In fact, this body began to work only in 1777, when immediate actions began to eliminate possible landslides. The catacombs were simply poured with concrete.
The number of bodies buried is explained by centuries-old cemeteries located mainly on the territory of churches, especially since the Catholic Church, with the blessing of the Pope, received quite good payments from each grave. By the 16th century, the number of graves had become catastrophic, and therefore new graves began to appear on the settled ground. The now closed Cemetery of the Innocents, for example, was closed only because there was no longer a place for burial, and the bones of the deceased were washed into the basements of nearby houses under the influence of groundwater.
Since 1780, special brigades have been created to remove bones from places of possible collapse near the catacombs. The bones were ordered to be cleaned with acid and placed in some tunnels.
Since 1980, due to the increasing incidence of vandalism, special tourist zones of the catacombs were created, which could be entered with a guide.
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Topic: Les Invalides in France, Paris resort.