Rocamadour (including Roc- Amadour, Latin: Rupes Amatoris ) is a commune with 656 inhabitants (as of 1 January 2011) in the department of Lot in the Midi-Pyrénées region and a shrine of the Roman Catholic Church. The name is derived from the sacred Amadour, a hermit, who here at the foot of a steep rock (French Roc ) found refuge.
Rocamadour is located in the extreme northwest of the Midi -Pyrenees region, bordering the Dordogne region of neighboring Aquitaine. This is where the old province of Quercy and Périgord each other. The place is situated on a steep cliff in the here largely dry Alzou Valley and in the Regional Natural Park Causses du Quercy.
The origins of the pilgrimage will be transferred from the legend in early Christian times. When in 1166 an incorrupt body was discovered in an old grave at the threshold of the Lady Chapel, was believed to have the legendary hermit Amadour found. It is reported by various miracles that spread the fame of the place of grace. There are different legends about the hermit: It is often said that he was the tax collector Zacchaeus ( cf. Lk 19,1 ff), the name of Amadour ( Amator ) have accepted, and had come to Christ's death of Jericho as a hermit to Gaul and the sanctuary I founded. Some of the hermit is equated with a house servant Mary. Others speak of Amdadour as the man of Saint Veronica, who came from Palestine, together with St. Martial to Gaul. In the 17th century established a connection to the holy Bishop Amator of Auxerre, which, however, also can not be verified. In any case, to have carved the figure of Mary from a tree trunk of Emerit. In reality, the miraculous image of the enthroned Virgin is likely to belong to the frontal seated on her left knee child probably the 12th century.
The first documentary mention of the place is to be found in a document of 968, which prompted the donation of the surrounding area to the Benedictines of Tulle. A Benedictine monastery wrote this in the twelfth century down the first reports of miracles, which was reissued in 1907 by a priest of the diocese of Cahors.
The pilgrimage to the Black Madonna was very famous in the Middle Ages. However, many pilgrims did not come here of their own accord, but they had been imposed upon the pilgrimage as penance. This practice of canon law had developed the Carolingian period and changed since the 13th century to a primarily in Holland imposed by secular courts punishment. Of the large staircase leading to the sanctuary testifies. The Bußwallfahrer had to apply after arriving in Rocamadour a dress of coarse cloth and chains on neck and arms. Then he had to climb the stairs on their knees to a pillory. Before the altar of the chapel, he begged forgiveness, what him a certificate was issued. Then he was able to purchase the leaden pilgrim badge. Known pilgrims were St. Dominic, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, the French King Louis IX. and in the 20th century French composer Francis Poulenc. The philosopher Ramon Llull visited by his own testimony also Rocamadour.
1534 paved the navigator Jacques Cartier to the mast of his ship sailing to Canada as protection against storms the banner of Our Lady of Rocamadour.
The Hundred Years' War, the chapel was destroyed. The Protestant captain smashed Bessonies 1562 the body of the saint. The statue and hung in the chapel bell that announced the legend, by automatically ringing miracle, were spared. The present chapel is a building of the 19th century.
2013 celebrated the pilgrimage to Our Lady of Rocamadour its 1000th anniversary, it was under the motto: " For with God nothing will be impossible " (Luke 1:37), alluding to the belief in miracles, which has always been connected to Rocamadour. This gave the pilgrimage that around one million visitors annually receives, but of which only 3-5% of pilgrims, a new impetus. In fact, Rocamadour was welcome in the jubilee year 80 % more pilgrims. A total of 380 groups from home and abroad were guests.
The three levels at which Rocamadour, are each worth seeing for themselves and in their entirety. In the lower level there is the village whose medieval houses nestle on the steep slopes above the gorge of the river Alzou. From there, visitors can climb the Grand Staircase to the holy city ( Sanctuaire ) from the 12th century. In this second level there are seven churches: The most important is the Lady Chapel Notre Dame de Rocamadour, which is above the crypt of St. Amadour. Furthermore significant is the Basilica Saint- Sauveur, which is excellent along with the crypt since 1998 as part of the World Heritage Site by UNESCO " Camino de Santiago in France." Likewise, find there the smaller chapels: St. Jean -Baptiste, St. Blaise, St. Anne and St. Michel. The Museum of Sacred Art, are shown in the numerous reliquaries, religious paintings and statues, also explains the history of the pilgrimage. In addition, there is also a center for sacred music
On the summit of the mountain, the third level, there is a castle from the 14th century. On the plateau a camp for young pilgrims and scouts was opened in the Jubilee Year 2013. It bears the name 'Camp Jean -Paul II' and can accommodate around 400 pilgrims.
Additional points of interest include
- The bird of prey conservation center,
- The monkey forest and
- The caves in Lacave (French Grottes de Lacave ).
Rocamadour has given its name to a small goat cheese, which is also known as Cabecou. Since 1996, he has a protected designation of origin. For more details visit Rocamadour ( cheese).