About St-Trophime Church
St-Trophime Church (Eglise St-Trophime) is one of the main Romanesque structures in the town of Arles and is part of the town’s UNESCO World Heritage listing.
St-Trophime Church history
Arles was one of the earliest settlements in Gaul to have had a Christian presence and a church has existed on the site of St-Trophime since the fifth century. St-Trophime itself was constructed in around the twelfth century and originally served as a cathedral.
It was also renovated in the fifteenth century, accounting for the fact that some of its features are gothic in style, such as its choir. St. Trophime stands on the site of a fifth-century basilica dedicated to St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr.
In the Middle Ages, St-Trophime was one of the French sites along a famous Christian pilgrimage to the Spanish church of Santiago de Compostela.
St-Trophime Church today
The exterior of St-Trophime is ornately carved with depictions of Christian stories and figures, this attention to detail being continued in its cloisters, with its intricately decorated columns. The inside of St-Trophime does contain some interesting aspects, such as an early sarcophagus, but is otherwise sparsely decorated.
As with many Romanesque churches, the main glory of Saint Trophime is its richly sculptured façade, pictured above. Presided over by Christ in majesty surrounded by the four apostles and their symbols, it depicts the Last Judgement, with the blessed on the left processing into heaven and the sinners to the right shuffling in chains off to hell.
Getting to St-Trophime Church
The address of the church is Place de la République, 13200 Arles. The city of Arles lies on the Rhône River in the Provence region of southern France. The closest cities are Nimes (35 km), Marseille (90 km) and Montpellier (80 km).
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