Notre-Dame de la Garde, a Catholic basilica in Marseille, France, is the city's best-known symbol. The site of a popular Assumption Day pilgrimage, it is the most visited site in Marseille.Consecrated on 5 June 1864, the Neo-Byzantine church was built by the architect Henri-Jacques Espérandieu on the foundations of an ancient fort at the highest natural point in Marseille, a 149m limestone outcropping on the south side of the Old Port of Marseille.The basilica replaced a church of the same name that was built in 1214 and restored in the 15th century. It consists of a lower church or crypt in the Romanesque style, carved from the rock, and an upper church of Neo-Byzantine style decorated with mosaics. A square 41m bell tower topped by a 12.5m belfry supports a monumental 11.2m statue of the Madonna and Child made of copper gilded with gold leaf.An extensive restoration from 2001 to 2008 included work on mosaics damaged by candle smoke, green limestone from corroded by pollution, and stonework hit by bullets during the Liberation of France.
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