Lanterns of the Dead (French: lanternes des morts) is the architectural name for the small towers in stone found chiefly in the centre and west of France, pierced with small openings at the top, where a light was exhibited at night to indicate the position of a cemetery.
These towers were usually circular, with a small entrance in the lower part giving access to the interior, so as to raise the lamps by a pulley to the required height. One of the most perfect in France is that at Cellefrouin (Charente), which consists of a series of eight attached semicircular shafts, raised on a pedestal, and is crowned with a conical roof decorated with fir cones; it has only one aperture, towards the main road. Other examples exist at Ciron (Indre) and Antigny (Vienne).
The origin and use of such lanterns are controversial. Some of those lanterns are said to be "lanterns of the Moors" instead of "lanterns of the Dead". The illiteracy of most of the population in the past can easily explain this folk etymology: in French, the Moors (French: les Maures) and the Dead (French: les Morts) are homophones. Moreover, some of those lanterns don't indicate any cemetery and their architecture has strong oriental influences. The proximity of Al-Andalus, Crusaders coming back to France, or trade in the Mediterranean may explain such monuments. For instance, the "lantern of the Moors". One example is the "lantern of the Moors" to be found in Sarlat-la-Canéda and pictured here.
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Silvio1953 (115063) 2013-01-02 1:02
Ciao Stephen, great view of lovely and original tower, splendid light, fine details and wonderful colors, very well done, my friend, Happy New Year 2013, ciao Silvio
Royaldevon (25884) 2013-01-02 1:10
Good Morning Stephen,
What interesting notes to accompany this intriguing building. The more, I read, the more curious I became!
I feel the 'lanterns of the moor' to be a more understandable use of these strange buildings.
Your photograph is excellent, the steps leading from the bottom l/h corner, leading upwards to this sharp, vertical formatted capture.
My best wishes to you for the New Year,
carlo62 (26816) 2013-01-02 1:13
non conoscevo l'esistenza di queste costruzioni, la nota di accompagnamento è molto interessante e la foto è ben fatta e rispecchia la descrizione.
lousat (71397) 2013-01-02 1:17
Salut Steph,tres originale architechture et tres interessnts notes,je ne conassais pas ca! Photo prise depuis la meilleure prise de vue pour comprendre ces constructions,mes compliments et belle journee',Luciano
dip (23510) 2013-01-02 2:41
a well framed and composed shot of the tower,interesting note,
tedesse (25045) 2013-01-02 3:16
Good POV showing interesting tower. Nice frame and composition. Beautiful colors, good sharpness. Very well done photo.
Have a nice day
Fis2 (81501) 2013-01-02 5:22
A very interesting object (lantern), tower...
Good frame and colors.
timecapturer (44389) 2013-01-02 5:23
what an amazing looking structure. The bullet shape is so unusual and fascinating. Super detail and POV that makes it so imposing and striking.
All the very best for 2013 - Brian.
dkmurphys (45827) 2013-01-02 5:30
Very interesting old structure along with the explanation note. Well taken, all the best for the new year.
Sergiom (53733) 2013-01-02 5:44
C'est une belle forme mise en évidence dans ton cadrage vertical, malgré cette lumière très difficile sur la droite.
Buin (42256) 2013-01-02 5:46
An interesting photo accompanied by an informative note - an exemplary contribution. These towers really somehow look threatening and not very inviting and their simple architecture looks like made for eternitiy. Thank you for showing this!
Greetings from still springlike Germany!
Nicou (115244) 2013-01-02 6:11
Quelle forme et architecture superbe image et compo de cette lanterne vraiment très intéressant avec le sommet noir, ces trace qui descendent le long des pierre, superbe.
Merci et amitié
chrisvek (7001) 2013-01-02 7:25
Very nice capture with very good composition.Also very good POV.Very good job.Happy New Year and best wishes
Noel_Byrne (20073) 2013-01-03 8:23
A fascinating building, and note. I have never heard of this type of structure before, and am very pleased to learn this today. Great shot of this unique structure, and beautiful light on it again. The sky looks excellent, and the two tones of the building suit it very well. I imagine it would have been quite spooky to walk down a dark road and suddenly see a light on high meaning you are near a graveyard!
Thanks for sharing
jlbrthnn (79791) 2013-01-03 11:26
Tu as réussi une meilleure photo que moi, de cette superbe et spectaculaire lanterne des mers. C'est bien vu. Bravo.
Bonne Année et bonne soirée.
pierrefonds (54580) 2013-01-03 14:40
The trees are framing well the tower. The point of view is allowing me to distinguish the details and colors of the architecture of the tower. The good luminosity is bringing out the colors. Have a nice day.
amaryllis (33426) 2013-01-04 5:51
merci de ce parage et de ta ote qui accompagne cette photo de cette célèbre lanterne des morts, un cadrage à la verticale qui lui correspond bien, une belle tour circulaire
ikeharel (51455) 2013-01-04 7:14
Good evening Stephen,
most unusual edifice, realized when saw at first - but your note shed light on it's origin.
That's the best of TE essence - allow to see and learn about places we normally do not get to see.
Didi (54663) 2013-01-04 14:35
Etrange architecture et je note un intéressant commentaire historique
Meilleurs voeux pour l'année 2013
macjake (51348) 2013-01-07 14:58
what a strange and unique looking piece of architecture!
reading the note, i still don't know exactly 100% what its for, but i think i get the idea.
Guess i just dont see the real point of even having it!
but it surely is unique and a great subject to photograph.
I have to say, this one is really cool.
thanks for showing us
sandpiper (6788) 2013-01-18 1:35
Fascinating story and interesting architecture. Makes one want to know more, so I read more at various places on the internet and its still a mystery. thanks for posting
- Copyright: Stephen Nunney (snunney) (78751)
- Genre: Places
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2012-09-00
- Categories: Architecture
- Camera: Canon EOS 1100D, Canon 18-55mm EF-S f/3.5-5.6 IS
- Exposure: f/8, 1/100 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Map: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Date Submitted: 2013-01-02 0:39