Lourdes ( Gascon Lorda ) is a French town in the Hautes -Pyrénées, in the Midi -Pyrenees near the Spanish border. It counts 14,282 inhabitants (as of 1 January 2011). It is a place of Marian apparitions one of the world's most visited pilgrimage sites. Lourdes belongs to the diocese of Tarbes and Lourdes Roman Catholic Church.
Lourdes is located in the northern foothills of the Pyrenees at an altitude of 420 meters. Coming from the south bank of the Gave de Pau flows through Lourdes.
Place of pilgrimage
In 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous near Massabielle ( massevieille, old rock ') have had multiple appearances of a white-robed woman. Later revealed by their words, the phenomenon as " the Immaculate Conception ", which the priest and the church's Commission of Inquiry as a confirmation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the mother of Jesus, implied. In one of these phenomena, the source was exposed in the cave. Our Lady asked Bernadette Soubirous according to their words, it must align the priests that a church is put in place at the Grotto and to processions there.
Today the church is a place of pilgrimage. The source can be attributed healing powers and it was reported by many miraculous cures. Bernadette Soubirous was canonized on December 8, 1933. From 14 August to 15 August 2004 saw Pope John Paul II to Lourdes. From 13 September to 15 September 2008 visited his successor, Pope Benedict XVI. , Lourdes.
Most visitors will by the Catholic pilgrimage sites, in particular the site of the Sanctuaries (Holy district) to the appearance of cave, the source with the applicable as miraculous water and the bathrooms ( Piscines ) for the sick, as well as the three major churches ( the Basilica of Notre- Dame-de- l'Immaculée - Conception, the Rosary Basilica and the underground Basilica of St. Pius X ) tightened. This holds up to 25,000 visitors.
In addition, Lourdes is also an important base point for tourism in the Pyrenees - for this reason there is also a small museum for a prominent Protestant French in Lourdes: an exhibition is the work of Franz Schrader, the important Pyrenees researchers, painters and cartographers of the 19th century devoted. According to him, one south of Lourdes situated in the Pyrenees three thousand, the Pic Schrader is named.
The most important economic factor is the annual pilgrimages and religious tourism. Lourdes provides approximately 12,000 beds in hotels and hostels available. The community Lourdes counts with around five million overnight stays per year to Paris most nights in France. 68 percent of visitors come from abroad, 31 percent from Italy, followed by British and Spaniards. There are around 200 souvenir shops.
Lourdes has an international airport, 10 km north of the city close to the RN 21 Many visitors come by bus. There are around 400 special trains per year.
The most important sports club in the city is FC Lourdes, who plays rugby union and eight times champion was. On 15 July 2011 Lourdes destination was a stage of the Tour de France 2011.
In cooperation " Shrines of Europe" Lourdes is connected with five other Marian shrines since 1996. These are:
Sons and daughters of the town
- Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879), nun
- Antoine Tisné (1932-1998), composer