Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

French commune
nomcommune=Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
Fortified church
région=Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
département=Bouches-du-Rhône
arrondissement=Arles
canton=Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer
insee=13096
cp=13460
maire=Roland Chassain
mandat=2002-2008
intercomm=
longitude=4.42861111
latitude=43.45277778
alt moy=4 m
alt mini=0
alt maxi=6 m
hectares=37,461
km²=374.61
sans=2478
date-sans=1999
dens=6.6
date-dens=1999

Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (lit. "Saint Marys of the Sea", Provençal Occitan "Lei Santei Marias de la Mar") is the capital of the Camargue (Provençal Occitan "Camarga") in the south of France. It is a commune in the Bouches-du-Rhône department by the Mediterranean Sea. Population: 2,478 (50,000+ during the summer holidays). It has the second-largest area of all communes in Metropolitan France, smaller only than that of neighboring Arles.

Religion

The three saints Mary Magdalene, Mary Salome and Mary Jacobe, whose relics are the focus of the devotions of pilgrims are believed to be the women who were the first witnesses to the empty tomb at the resurrection of Jesus. After the Crucifixion of Jesus, Mary Salome, Mary Jacobe, and Mary Magdalene set sail from Alexandria, Egypt with their uncle Joseph of Aramithia, by French legend OR were cast adrift in a boat that arrived off the coast of what is now France "a sort of fortress named Oppidum-Râ", and the location was known as Notre-Dame-de-Ratis ("Râ" becoming "Ratis", or boat) (Droit, 1961, 19); the name being changed to Notre-Dame-de-la-Mer, and then Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in 1838.

It is a pilgrimage destination for Roma (Gypsies) who gather yearly in the town for a religious festival in honor of Saint Sarah known by the French to be Mary Magdala's daughter OR may also be known as Sara-la-Kali (Sara the black). Dark-skinned Saint Sara is said to have possibly been the Egyptian servant of the three Marys. The famous flamenco guitarist Manitas de Plata first played there.

Miscellaneous

*The windsurfing Canal where the last three world sailing speed records were set is on the outskirts of the town.
*Vincent van Gogh painted "Street in Saintes-Maries" here in 1888.
*Hermann-Paul died here in 1940, two days shy of the capitulation.
*Tori Amos wrote a song "Mary's of the Sea" inspired by Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer- most notably of the three Marys, Mary Magdalene.

ee also

*Communes of the Bouches-du-Rhône department

External links

* [http://www.saintesmaries.com/ Tourism office website] ( [http://www.saintesmaries.com/ mirror] )
* [http://www.tripfilms.com/Travel_Video-v171-Saintes_Maries_de_la_Mer-Saintes_Maries_de_la_Mer-Video.html Video about Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer]

References

* Droit, Michel. (1963). "Carmague." Ernest and Adair Heimann (trans.). London: George Allen and Unwin


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