Caen Abbaye aux Hommes- Abbey of Saint-√Čtienne - France
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Abbaye aux Hommes

Caen Abbaye aux Hommes
Caen - Abbaye aux Hommes

Caen is a port town in north-western France, on the Atlantic Ocean. When the Vikings invaded France in the 700s AD, eventually they forced the French king to give them the area around Caen (KAHN) to live in. There they got to be known as the Normans, and people called the area Normandy.

The Normans soon converted from worshipping their old gods to Christianity, and soon they built churches. The Normans built their first churches out of wood, which was easier to build in, and cheaper, but wooden churches often caught fire. Around 1000 AD the Normans began to build stone churches in the Romanesque style.

William the Conqueror ordered his architects to build this church about 1050 AD in his capital at Caen (click here to find out why). It was part of an abbey dedicated to Saint Stephen - a place for Benedictine monks to live and pray.

Learn by doing: build an arch
More about Caen - the Abbaye aux Hommes

Bibliography and further reading about medieval architecture:

Abbaye aux Dames
Caen Castle
Romanesque architecture
Medieval architecture
Visiting France with Kids
Middle Ages home

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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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  • Carr, K.E. . Study Guides, . Web. 27 April, 2017