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Best Religious Sites in Lyon

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Archeological Garden

During the early-Christian era and the beginnings of the Western church, the word "ecclesia", the bishop's church, was used instead of cathedral. Archaeological excavations between 1973 and 1977 brought to light Lyon's Episcopalian church complex in this area. Three churches and a surrounding wall were built in the 4th century: Sainte-Croix church where catechumen or novices (unbaptized followers) were taught, St Etienne baptistery where the faithful were baptized and the "ecclesia" where the Bishop welcomed the baptized. In Carolingian times, baptisms took place in the main church where baptismal fonts were used instead of the tanks in the baptistery. The history and evolution of this garden can be seen in the restored relics such as the foundations of Sainte-Croix and Saint Etienne, the baptismal tank where the faithful were immersed and part of the surrounding wall was built in the 6th century with the remains of Roman monuments (some still bear inscriptions).

Lyon, France
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Cathédrale Saint-Jean-Baptiste de Lyon

This magnificent cathedral was founded in the 11th-Century by Saint Pothinus and Saint Irenaeus, who happened to be the first two bishops of Lyon. However, the construction of the cathedral did not get underway until 1180 and was not completed until 1480. Of particular interest to visitors are the two crosses hung on either side of the altar; these relics were placed on the walls in 1274 to symbolize the union of the churches. Also of note is the Bourbon chapel, which is considered to be a masterpiece of 15th-Century architecture. Visitors can also admire the cathedral's grand astronomical clock, which dates back to the 14th-Century.

Lyon, France
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Saint-Jean Episcopal Palace (Palais Saint Jean)

The domus ecclesia (a Latin term referring to churches that were situated in private homes) of Saint Jean has always been next to the cathedral, but the building which remains was expanded during the second half of the 15th Century by Charles de Bourbon, Archbishop of Lyon at that time. This palace is one of the rare examples of civil Gothic architecture inspired by the religious architecture from the end of the Middle Ages. The architect Jacques-Germain Soufflot made some changes between 1747 and 1749 by making the palace face Adolphe Max Street rather than the banks of the Saône. He designed two classical style porticoes and a monumental staircase to replace the side passages, recreating in his own style a classical architecture (see Hôtel Dieu, Loge du Change). Today the Palace Saint-Jean is used to store the municipal archives of Lyon and as an annex of the public library.

Lyon, France
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Church of Saint-Bruno des Chartreux

The principal interest of the abbey church of Saint Bruno des Chartreux lies in its rarity: it's one of the few baroque churches in Lyon. The monastery to which it belonged to was destroyed like many others during the Revolution. All that remains is a little cloister south of the chancel through which the monks would enter to go to services, and of course the abbey church itself. The long chancel used by the monks dates from the 16th Century. The nave and the transept, which were built in the 18th century by Delamonce, are baroque in style, as is the dome.

Lyon, France
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Guillotière Nouveau Cemetery

This cemetery in Lyon is of great historical significance. It dates back to the early 19th century and has the tombs and graves of some well-known personalities like the local business barons and others. But do consider it in your itinerary when in Lyon. Call for timings.

Lyon, France
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Lyon Grand Mosque

The Grande Mosquée de Lyon was conceived by the Ballandras and Mirabeau of Lyon and was mainly funded by King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and by other Muslim countries. Opened in September 1994, the mosque responded to its critics with a mix of discretion and occidental modernity. The Persian arcs of the façade, the minaret which is 25 meters (82 feet) high and the white dome mounted on a crescent are the most apparent exterior elements, but it is on the inside where you can see the real architectural dexterity. The entrance patio is covered by a glass pyramid supported by 230 columns. A mezzanine level was fitted in the prayer room for the women, which overhangs the mihrab showing the direction of Mecca. The mihrab is decorated with a blue mosaic saying the famous verse "there is no other God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet". The mosque also has a documentation center.

Lyon, France
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Vienne Cathedral

Cathédrale Saint-Maurice de Vienne is a place of Roman Catholic worship. The cathedral is dedicated to Saint Maurice, a legendary Theban leader. The church boasts of grand Gothic architecture and is said to have been established over a period of five centuries. The west front of the church provides gorgeous panoramic views over the Rhine. Besides regular prayer services and religious activities, the cathedral halls host music concerts, exhibitions, and so on.

Vienne, France
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