The rock church of Saint-Georges de Gurat

Known as the "Chapelle Saint-Georges", the rock church of Saint-Georges de Gurat dates back to the 11th and 12th centuries. Nestled in the heart of a series of dug caves, it is pierced into the side of the hill, on which the village is built, with the nave, choir and apse with barrel vault and the "Larcosolium", a kind of niche-shaped burial vault not far from the rock tombs.

In the 9th century a hermit dug the first cells in the rock. Then the church was enlarged until the 12th century.

This church is built on the typical plan of a traditional church, with the main nave, choir, transept but only has a aisle. The church seems to have undergone several phases of expansion It would seem that the 12th and 13th centuries constitute the golden age of the community which declined at the end of the 14th century, because of the Hundred Years' War, favourable to insecurity and lost its bedside in the 14th century.

The religious wars ended the looting of the site.

Excavations were undertaken in the 1970s and a necropolis was discovered.



A local legend has it that the bells of the rock church were removed and hidden in a deep source to protect them from the English. Despite the prayers of the faithful, they never surfaced. In the 16th century, during the Wars of Religion (1562-1598), the site was sacked. The vault above the choir was destroyed, the tombs desecrated and the skeletons exhumed. The community then disperses. Thus, the church, which was to be enlarged, could never be completed. During the Revolution, the church was probably used as a saltpetre, in the 19th century as a barn, while two caves were transformed into a bread oven. 


The rock church of Saint-Georges de Gurat

Route de Vendoire

16320 Gurat

Tel: 05 45 64 64 75 93



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