Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble and Avignon Bridge

Background Information:

  • The Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble and Avignon Bridge
  • Located in Southern France
  • Added to the World Heritage List in 1995
  • It was said to be nominated due to it’s, “outstanding example of late medieval ecclesiastical, administrative and military architecture which played a significant role in the development and diffusion of a characteristic form of culture over a wide area of Europe, at a time of critical importance for the development of lasting relationships between the Papacy and the civil powers.” So basically it was an architectural site that was important politically.
  • There are Thirty-Two cultural or mixed sites in France.

Basic Archaeological Site Information:

  • The property is 8.18 ha, which when looked up ha is a unit of measurement but I was unable to figure out exactly what it means…
  • This site was built between the 12th and 14th centuries over a bit of time, different architectural structures were built at different times.
  • It was the site of the Papacy and the civil powers of Europe, so it is associated with European religious and political groups.

Archaeological Summary:

  • This site is made up of many Gothic Architecturally built churches, it is built on a hill, and has water access, it is where the pope resided during the 12th and 14th centuries. It is made and crafted mostly out of stone. It is categorized as a group of building to the Heritage Center. The main Convent was lived in by seven popes. Part of the architecture was destroyed in the 14th century to make room for a wide open space in front of the cathedral called the Place de Palais. The main Cathedral is very open with huge halls ways and large rooms! It is now practically a museum no one resides in the cathedral.


  • There are no known threats to this site, the French seem to take pride in this historical site and it is a large tourist attraction for the area. (I have been there it’s beautiful) On the site there are remains of a 12th century bridge that has crumbled into the river.


Fun Facts:

  • It is located on the Rhone River, and is now a gathering place for markets.
  • Many popes throughout the 12th and 14th century lived in the main church.

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2 Responses to Historic Centre of Avignon: Papal Palace, Episcopal Ensemble and Avignon Bridge

  1. megan says:

    I don’t believe the building the popes lived in was considered a church itself – it was their palace, similar to the Vatican. It had a chapel, but they didn’t live in the chapel.

  2. megan says:

    (also ha = hectares)

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