The Nanakshahi calendar is a tropical solar calendar, used in Sikhism and is based on the'Barah Maha'. Barah Maha was composed by the Sikh Gurus and translates as the "Twelve Months", it is a poem reflecting the changes in nature which are conveyed in the twelve-month cycle of the Year. The year begins with 1 Chet corresponding to 14 March; the first year of the Nanakshahi Calendar starts in 1469 CE: the year of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev. The Nanakshahi Calendar is named after the founder of Guru Nanak Dev. Sikhs have traditionally recognised luni-solar calendars: the Nanakshahi and Khalsa. Traditionally, both these calendars followed the Bikrami calendar with the Nanakshahi year beginning on Katak Pooranmashi and the Khalsa year commencing with Vaisakhi; the methods for calculating the beginning of the Khalsa era were based on the Bikrami calendar. The year length was the same as the Bikrami solar year. According to Steel, the calendar has twelve lunar months that are determined by the lunar phase, but thirteen months in leap years which occur every 2–3 years in the Bikrami calendar to sync the lunar calendar with its solar counterpart.
Kay abbreviates the Khalsa Era as KE. References to the Nanakshahi Era have been made in historic documents. Banda Singh Bahadur adopted the Nanakshahi calendar in 1710 C. E. after his victory in Sirhind according to which the year 1710 C. E. became Nanakshahi 241. However, Singh states the date of the victory as 14 May 1710 CE. According to Dilagira, Banda "continued adopting the months and the days of the months according to the Bikrami calendar". Banda Singh Bahadur minted new coins called Nanakshahi. Herrli states. Although Banda may have proclaimed this era, it cannot be traced in contemporary documents and does not seem to have been used for dating". According to The Panjab Past and Present, it is Gian Singh who "is the first to use Nanak Shahi Samvats along with those of Bikrami Samvats" in the Twarikh Guru Khalsa. According to Singha, Gian Singh was a Punjabi author born in 1822. Gian Singh wrote the Twarikh Guru Khalsa in 1891; the revised Nanakshahi calendar was designed by Pal Singh Purewal to replace the Bikrami calendar.
The epoch of this calendar is the birth of the first Sikh Guru, Nanak Dev in 1469 and the Nanakshahi year commences on 1 Chet. New Year's Day falls annually on; the start of each month is fixed. According to Kapel, the solar accuracy of the Nanakshahi calendar is linked to the Gregorian civil calendar; this is because the Nanaskhahi calendar uses the tropical year instead of using the sidereal year, used in the Bikrami calendar or the old Nanakshahi and Khalsa calendars. The amended Nanakshahi calendar was adopted in 1998 but implemented in 2003 by the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee to determine the dates for important Sikh events; the calendar was implemented during the SGPC presidency of Sikh scholar Prof. Kirpal Singh Badungar at Takhat Sri Damdama Sahib in the presence of Sikh leadership. Nanakshahi Calendar recognizes the adoption event, of 1999 CE, in the Sikh history when SGPC released the first calendar with permanently fixed dates in the Tropical Calendar. Therefore, the calculations of this calendar do not regress back from 1999 CE into the Bikrami era, fixes for all time in the future.
Features of the Original Nanakshahi calendar: Uses the accurate Tropical year rather than the Sidereal year Called Nanakshahi after Guru Nanak Year 1 is the Year of Guru Nanak's Birth. As an example, April 14, 2019 CE is Nanakshahi 551. Is Based on Gurbani – Month Names are taken from Guru Granth Sahib Contains 5 Months of 31 days followed by 7 Months of 30 days Leap year every 4 Years in which the last month has an extra day Approved by Akal Takht in 2003 In 2010, the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee modified the calendar so that the dates for the start of the months are movable so that they coincide with the Bikrami calendar and changed the dates for various Sikh festivals so they are based upon the lunar phase; this has created controversy with some bodies adopting the original 2003 version called the "Mool Nanakshahi Calendar" and others, the 2010 version. By 2014, the SGPC had scrapped the original Nanakshahi calendar from 2003 and reverted to the Bikrami calendar however it was still published under the name of Nanakshahi.
The Sikh bodies termed it a step taken under pressure from the Shiromani Akali Dal. There is some controversy about the acceptance of the calendar altogether among certain sectors of the Sikh world. SGPC president, Gobind Singh Longowal, on 13 March 2018 urged all Sikhs to follow the current Nanakshahi calendar; the previous SGPC President before Longowal, Prof. Kirpal Singh Badungar, tried to appeal the Akal Takht to celebrate the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh on 23 Poh as per the original Nanakshahi calendar, but the appeal was denied; the PSGPC and a majority of the other gurdwara managements across the world are opposing the modified version of the calendar citing that the SGPC reverted to the Bikrami calendar. They argue that in the Bikrami calendar, dates of many gurpurbs coincide, thereby creating confusion among the Sikh Panth. According to Ahaluwalia, the Nanakshahi calendar goes against the use of lunar Bikrami dates by the Gurus themselves and is contradictory, it begins with the year of birth of
Ab urbe condita
Ab urbe condita, or Anno urbis conditæ abbreviated as AUC in either case, is a convention, used in antiquity and by classical historians to refer to a given year in Ancient Rome. Ab urbe condita means "from the founding of the City," while anno urbis conditæ means "in the year since the City's founding." Therefore, the traditional year of the foundation of Rome, 753 BC, would be written AUC 1, while AD 1 would be AUC 754. The foundation of the Empire in 27 BC would be AUC 727. Usage of the term was more common during the Renaissance, when editors sometimes added AUC to Roman manuscripts they published, giving the false impression that the convention was used in antiquity. In reality, the dominant method of identifying years in Roman times was to name the two consuls who held office that year. In late antiquity, regnal years were in use, as was the Diocletian era in Roman Egypt after AD 293, in the Byzantine Empire after AD 537, following a decree by Justinian; the traditional date for the founding of Rome, 21 April 753 BC, is due to Marcus Terentius Varro.
Varro may have used the consular list and called the year of the first consuls "ab urbe condita 245," accepting the 244-year interval from Dionysius of Halicarnassus for the kings after the foundation of Rome. The correctness of this calculation has not been confirmed. From the time of Claudius onward, this calculation superseded other contemporary calculations. Celebrating the anniversary of the city became part of imperial propaganda. Claudius was the first to hold magnificent celebrations in honor of the anniversary of the city, in AD 48, the eight hundredth year from the founding of the city. Hadrian and Antoninus Pius held similar celebrations, in AD 121, in AD 147 and AD 148, respectively. In AD 248, Philip the Arab celebrated Rome's first millennium, together with Ludi saeculares for Rome's alleged tenth sæculum. Coins from his reign commemorate the celebrations. A coin by a contender for the imperial throne, explicitly states "ear one thousand and first", an indication that the citizens of the empire had a sense of the beginning of a new era, a Sæculum Novum.
The Anno Domini year numbering was developed by a monk named Dionysius Exiguus in Rome in AD 525, as a result of his work on calculating the date of Easter. Dionysius did not use the AUC convention, but instead based his calculations on the Diocletian era; this convention had been in use since AD 293, the year of the tetrarchy, as it became impractical to use regnal years of the current emperor. In his Easter table, the year AD 532 was equated with the 248th regnal year of Diocletian; the table counted the years starting from the presumed birth of Christ, rather than the accession of the emperor Diocletian on 20 November AD 284, or as stated by Dionysius: "sed magis elegimus ab incarnatione Domini nostri Jesu Christi annorum tempora praenotare". Blackburn and Holford-Strevens review interpretations of Dionysius which place the Incarnation in 2 BC, 1 BC, or AD 1, it has been calculated that the year AD 1 corresponds to AUC 754, based on the epoch of Varro. Thus, AUC 1 = 753 BC AUC 753 = 1 BC AUC 754 = AD 1 AUC 1000 = AD 247 AUC 1229 = AD 476 AUC 2206 = AD 1453 AUC 2753 = AD 2000 AUC 2772 = AD 2019 List of Latin phrases
The 7th century is the period from 601 to 700 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Common Era. The Muslim conquests began with the unification of Arabia by Muhammad starting in 622. After Muhammad's death in 632, Islam expanded beyond the Arabian Peninsula under the Rashidun Caliphate and the Umayyad Caliphate; the Islamic conquest of Persia in the 7th century led to the downfall of the Sassanid Empire. Conquered during the 7th century were Syria, Armenia and North Africa; the Byzantine Empire continued suffering setbacks during the rapid expansion of the Muslim Empire. In the Iberian Peninsula, the 7th century was the Siglo de Concilios, that is, century of councils, referring to the Councils of Toledo. In China, the Sui dynasty was replaced by the Tang dynasty, which set up its military bases from Korea to Central Asia, was next to the Umayyad's later. China began to reach its height. Silla allied itself with the Tang Dynasty, subjugating Baekje and defeating Goguryeo to unite the Korean Peninsula under one ruler.
The Asuka period persisted in Japan throughout the 7th century. Harsha united Northern India, which had reverted to small republics and states after the fall of the Gupta Empire in the 6th century. Islam begins in Arabia; the first known Croatian archon Porga establishes the Duchy of Croatia. The world's population shrinks to about 208 million people; the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy emerges at the last in England. Sutton Hoo ship burial, East Anglia. Xuanzang traveled from China to India, before returning to Chang'an in China to translate Buddhist scriptures. Timgad, Algeria, is destroyed by Berbers. End of sporadic Buddhist rule in the Sindh. Croats enter their present territory early in the 7th century, settling in six distinct tribal delimitations. Teotihuacan is sacked; the political and religious buildings are burned. The religion of Shugendo evolves from Buddhism, Taoism and other influences in the mountains of Japan; the Bulgars arrive in the Balkans. Arab traders penetrate the area of Lake Chad. Earliest attested English poetry.
Side panels, Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe, are made. Main compound, Horyu-ji, Nara Prefecture, is built. Asuka period. 7th and 9th century – Mosaics above apse, Basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe, are made. 600: Smallpox spreads from India into Europe. 602: The Third Chinese domination of Vietnam starts following the collapse of the Early Lý dynasty. 603: Last mention of the Roman Senate in Gregorian Register. It mentions that the senate empress Leontia. 606: Boniface elected papal successor on the death of Pope Sabinian. He sought and obtained a decree from Byzantine Emperor Phocas which stated that "the See of Blessed Peter the Apostle should be the head of all the Churches"; this ensured that the title of "Universal Bishop" belonged to the Bishop of Rome. 607: Hōryū-ji temple believed to have been completed by 607 in Ikaruga, Japan. 610: Heraclius arrives by ship from Africa at Constantinople, overthrows East Roman Emperor Phocas and becomes Emperor. His first major act is to change the official language of the East Roman Empire from Latin to Greek.
615: The Sassanid Empire under Shah Khosrau II sacks Jerusalem, taking away the relic of the True cross. 615: Pacal the Great becomes king of the Mayan city-state of Palenque 616: Shah Chosroes II invades Egypt. 616: Aethelfrith of Northumbria defeats the Welsh in a battle at Chester in England. 618: Tang Dynasty of China do initiated by Li Yuan. 618: The Chenla kingdom absorbed Funan. Guangzhou, becomes a major international seaport, hosting maritime travelers from Egypt, East Africa, Persia, Sri Lanka, South East Asia, including Muslims, Jews and Nestorian Christians. 622: Year one of the Islamic calendar begins, during which the Hijra occurs—Muhammad and his followers emigrate from Mecca to Medina in September. 623: The Frankish merchant Samo, supporting the Slavs fighting their Avar rulers, becomes the ruler of the first known Slav state in Central Europe. 626: The Avars and the Persians jointly besiege but fail to capture Constantinople. 627: Emperor Heraclius defeats the Persians, ending the Roman-Persian Wars.
629: The Byzantine-Arab Wars begin. Much of the Roman Empire is conquered by Muslim Arabs led by Khalid ibn al-Walid. 629–630: Emperor Taizong's campaign against Eastern Tujue, Chinese Tang Dynasty forces under commanders Li Jing and Li Shiji destroy the Göktürk Khanate. 632: The Muslim conquests begin. 635-649: Alopen, a Persian Christian priest introduces Nestorian Christianity into China. 636: Around this time the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah resulted in a decisive victory for Muslims in the Islamic conquest of Persia, the Persian Empire is conquered by Muslim Arabs led by Sad Ibn Abi Waqqas. 638: Emperor Taizong issues an edict of universal toleration of religions. 639: Muslim conquest of Egypt and Armenia. 639: Unsuccessful revolt of Ashina Jiesheshuai of the Turkic people against Tang China. 641: The Coptic period, in its more specific definition, ends when Islam is introduced into Egypt. 649-683: Chinese Emperor Gaozong permits establishment of Christian monasteries in each of 358 prefectures.
650: The Khazar-Arab Wars begin. Mid-7th century – Durga Mahishasura-mardini, rock-cut relief, Tamil Nadu, India, is made. Pallava period, it is now kept at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Mid-7th century - Portrait of Lord Pacal, from his tomb, Temple of the Inscripti
Vikram Samvat. It uses solar sidereal years; the Vikram Samvat is notable because many medieval era inscriptions use it. It is said to be named after the legendary king Vikramaditya, but the term "Vikrama Samvat" does not appear in the historical records before the 9th century, rather the same calendaring system is found by other names such as Krita and Malava. In the colonial era scholarship, the era was believed to be based on the commemoration of King Vikramaditya expelling the Sakas from Ujjain; however epigraphical evidence and scholarship suggest that this theory has no historical basis and likely was an error. Starting in the 9th century and thereafter, epigraphical artwork uses Vikrama-Samvat, suggesting that sometime around the 9th-century, the Hindu calendar era, in use became popular as Vikram Samvat, while Buddhist and Jain epigraphy continued to use an era based on the Buddha or the Mahavira. According to popular tradition, the legendary king Vikramaditya of Ujjain established the Vikrama Samvat era after defeating the Śakas.
Kalakacharya Kathanaka by the Jain sage Mahesarasuri gives the following account: Gandharvasena, the then-powerful king of Ujjain, abducted a nun called Sarasvati, the sister of the monk. The enraged monk sought the help of the Śaka ruler King Sahi in Sistan. Despite heavy odds but aided by miracles, the Śaka king defeated Gandharvasena and made him a captive. Sarasvati was repatriated; the defeated king retired to the forest. His son, being brought up in the forest, had to rule from Pratishthana. On, Vikramaditya invaded Ujjain and drove away from the Śakas. To commemorate this event, he started a new era called the "Vikrama era"; the Ujjain calendar started around 58–56 BCE, the subsequent Shaka era calendar was started in 78 CE at Pratishthana. The association of the era beginning in 57 BCE with Vikramaditya is not found in any source before the 9th century CE; the earlier sources call this era by various names, including Kṛṭa, the era of the Malava tribe, or Samvat. The earliest known inscription that calls the era "Vikrama" is from 842 CE.
This inscription of Chauhana ruler Chandamahasena was found at Dholpur, is dated Vikrama Samvat 898, Vaishakha Shukla 2, Chanda. The earliest known inscription that associates this era with a king called Vikramaditya is dated 971 CE; the earliest literary work that connects the era to Vikramaditya is Subhashita-Ratna-Sandoha by the Jain author Amitagati. For this reason, multiple authors believe that the Vikram Samvat was not started by Vikramaditya, who might be a purely legendary king or the title adopted by a king who renamed the era after himself. V. A. Smith and D. R. Bhandarkar believed that Chandragupta II adopted the title Vikramaditya, changed the name of the era to "Vikrama Samvat". According to Rudolf Hoernlé, the king responsible for this change was Yashodharman: Hoernlé believed that he conquered Kashmir, is the same person as the "Harsha Vikramaditya" mentioned in Kalhana's Rajatarangini. Earlier, some scholars believed that the Vikrama Samavat corresponded to the Azes era of the Indo-Scythian king King Azes.
However, this was disputed by Robert Bracey following the discovery of an inscription of Vijayamitra, dated in two eras. The theory seems to be now discredited by Falk and Bennett, who place the inception of the Azes era in 47–46 BCE; the traditional New Year of Vikram Samvat is one of the many festivals of Nepal, marked by parties, family gatherings, the exchange of good wishes, participation in rituals to ensure good fortune in the coming year. It occurs in mid-April each year, coincides with the traditional new year in Assam, Burma, Kerala, Manipur, Punjab, Sri Lanka, Tamil Nadu and Thailand. In addition to Nepal, the Vikram Samvat calendar is recognized in North and East India, in Gujarat among Hindus. Hindu religious festivals are based on a Luni-Solar calendar, not Solar calendar, based on Vikram Samvat. In North India, the new year in Vikram Samvat starts from the first day of Chaitra Skukla paksha. In Buddhist communities, the month of Baishakh is associated with Buddha's Birthday, it commemorates the birth and passing of Gautama Buddha on the first full moon day in May, except in a leap year when the festival is held in June.
Although this festival is not held on the same day as Pahela Baishakh, the holidays fall in the same month of the Bengali and Theravada Buddhist calendars, are related through the spread of Hinduism and Buddhism in the Indian subcontinent. In Gujarat, the day after Diwali is celebrated as the first day of the Vikram Samvat calendar, the first day of the month Kartik; the Vikrami era is an ancient calendar and has been used by Hindus and Sikhs. It is one of the several regional Hindu calendars that have been in use on the Indian subcontinent, it is based on twelve synodical lunar months and 365 solar days; the lunar new year starts on the new moon in the month of Chaitra. This day, known as Chaitra Sukhladi, is a restricted holiday in India; the Vikrami Samvat has been in use in the Indian subcontinent since ancient times, remains in use by the Hindus in north, w
Indian national calendar
The Indian national calendar, sometimes called the Shalivahana Shaka calendar. It is used, alongside the Gregorian calendar, by The Gazette of India, in news broadcasts by All India Radio and in calendars and communications issued by the Government of India; the Saka calendar is used in Java and Bali among Indonesian Hindus. Nyepi, the "Day of Silence", is a celebration of the Saka new year in Bali. Nepal's Nepal Sambat evolved from the Saka calendar. Prior to colonization, the Philippines used to apply the Saka calendar as well as suggested by the Laguna Copperplate Inscription; the term may ambiguously refer to the Hindu calendar. The historic Shalivahana era calendar is still used, it has years. The calendar months follow the signs of the tropical zodiac rather than the sidereal zodiac used with the Hindu calendar. Chaitra has 30 days and starts on March 22, except in leap years, when it has 31 days and starts on March 21; the months in the first half of the year all have 31 days, to take into account the slower movement of the sun across the ecliptic at this time.
The names of the months are derived from older, Hindu lunisolar calendars, so variations in spelling exist, there is a possible source of confusion as to what calendar a date belongs to. Years are counted in the Saka era. To determine leap years, add 78 to the Saka year – if the result is a leap year in the Gregorian calendar the Saka year is a leap year as well, its structure is just like the Persian calendar. Senior Indian Astrophysicist Meghnad Saha was the head of the Calendar Reform Committee under the aegis of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. Other members of the Committee were: A. C. Banerjee, K. K. Daftari, J. S. Karandikar, Gorakh Prasad, R. V. Vaidya and N. C. Lahiri, it was Saha's effort. The task before the Committee was to prepare an accurate calendar based on scientific study, which could be adopted uniformly throughout India, it was a mammoth task. The Committee had to undertake a detailed study of different calendars prevalent in different parts of the country. There were thirty different calendars.
The task was further complicated by the fact that religion and local sentiments were integral to those calendars. India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, in his preface to the Report of the Committee, published in 1955, wrote: “They represent past political divisions in the country.... Now that we have attained Independence, it is desirable that there should be a certain uniformity in the calendar for our civic and other purposes, this should be done on a scientific approach to this problem.” Usage started at 1 Chaitra 1879, Saka Era, or 22 March 1957. Report of the Calendar Reform Committee – online link. Mapping Time: The Calendar and its History by E. G. Richards, 1998, pp. 184–185. Calendars and their History Indian Calendars Positional astronomy in India Indian National Calendar abstract
The Berber calendar is the agricultural calendar traditionally used by Berbers. It is known as the fellaḥi; the calendar is utilized to regulate the seasonal agricultural works. The Islamic calendar, a lunar calendar, is not suited for agriculture because it does not relate to seasonal cycles. In other parts of the Islamic world either Iranian solar calendars, the Coptic calendar, the Rumi calendar, or other calendars based on the Julian calendar, were used before the introduction of the Gregorian calendar; the current Berber calendar is a legacy of the Roman province of Mauretania Caesariensis and the Roman province of Africa, as it is a surviving form of the Julian calendar. The latter calendar was used in Europe before the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, with month names derived from Latin. Berber populations used various indigenous calendars, such as that of the Guanche autochthones of the Canary Islands; however little is known of these ancient calendrical systems. The agricultural Berber calendar still in use is certainly derived from the Julian calendar, introduced in the Roman province of Africa at the time of Roman domination.
The names of the months of this calendar are derived from the corresponding Latin names and races of the Roman calendar denominations of Kalends and Ides exist: El Qabisi, an Islamic jurisconsult by Kairawan who lived in the 11th century, condemned the custom of celebrating "pagans'" festivals and cited, among traditional habits of North Africa, that of observing January Qalandas. The length of the year and of the individual months is the same as in the Julian calendar: three years of 365 days followed by a leap year of 366, without exceptions, 30- and 31-day months, except for the second one that has 28 days; the only slight discrepancy lies in that the extra day in leap years is not added at the end of February, but at the end of the year. This means that the beginning of the year corresponds to the 14th day of January in the Gregorian calendar, which coincides with the offset accumulated during the centuries between astronomical dates and the Julian calendar. In addition to the subdivision by months, within the traditional agricultural calendar there are other partitions, by "seasons" or by "strong periods", characterized by particular festivals and celebrations.
Not all the four seasons have retained a Berber denomination: the words for spring and autumn are used everywhere, more sparingly the winter and, among northern Berbers, the Berber name for the autumn has been preserved only in Jebel Nafusa. Spring tafsut – Begins on 15 furar Summer anebdu – Begins on 17 mayu Autumn amwal / aməwan ( – Begins on 17 ghusht Winter tagrest - Begins on 16 numbír An interesting element is the existing opposition between two 40-day terms, one representing the coldest part of winter and one the hottest period of summer; the coldest period is made up by 20 "white nights", from 12 to 31 dujamber, 20 "black nights", beginning on the first day of yennayer, corresponding to the Gregorian 14 January. The first day of the year is celebrated in various ways in the different parts of North Africa. A widespread tradition is a meal with particular foods. In some regions, it is marked by the sacrifice of an animal. In Algeria, such a holiday is celebrated by many people who don't use the Berber calendar in daily life.
A characteristic trait of this festivity, which blurs with the Islamic Day of Ashura, is the presence, in many regions, of ritual invocations with formulas like bennayu, babiyyanu, bu-ini, etc. Such expressions, according to many scholars, may be derived from of the ancient bonus annus wishes. A curious aspect of the Yennayer celebrations concerns the date of New Year's Day. Though once this anniversary fell everywhere on 14 January, because of a mistake introduced by some Berber cultural associations active in recovering customs on the verge of extinction, at present in a wide part of Algeria it is common opinion that the date of "Berber New Year's Day" is 12 January and not the 14th; the celebration at the 12, two days before the traditional one, it had been explicitly signaled in the city of Oran. El Azara is the period of the year extending, according to the Berber calendar, from 3 to 13 February and known by a climate sometimes hot, sometimes cold. Before the cold ends and spring begins there is a period of the year, feared.
It consists of ten days straddling the months of furar and mars, it is characterised by strong winds. It is said that, during this term, one should suspend many activities, should not marry nor go out during the night, leaving instead full scope to mysterious powers, which in that period are active and celebrate their weddings. Due to a linguistic taboo, in Djerba these creatures are called imbarken, i.e. "the blessed ones", whence this period takes its name. Jamrat el Ma, "embers of the sea", 27 February, is marked by a rise in sea temperature. Jamrat el Trab, "land embers" in English, is the period from 6 to 10 March and known to be marked by a mixture of heavy rain and sunny weather. Jamrat or coal is a term used t
Le Mont-Saint-Michel is an island and mainland commune in Normandy, France. The island is located about one kilometer off the country's northwestern coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches and is 7 hectares in area; the mainland part of the commune is 393 hectares in area so that the total surface of the commune is 400 hectares. As of 2015, the island has a population of 50; the island has held strategic fortifications since ancient times and since the 8th century AD has been the seat of the monastery from which it draws its name. The structural composition of the town exemplifies the feudal society that constructed it: on top, the abbey and monastery; the commune's position—on an island just a few hundred metres from land—made it accessible at low tide to the many pilgrims to its abbey, but defensible as an incoming tide stranded, drove off, or drowned would-be assailants. The Mont remained unconquered during the Hundred Years' War; the reverse benefits of its natural defence were not lost on Louis XI, who turned the Mont into a prison.
Thereafter the abbey began to be used as a jail during the Ancien Régime. One of France's most recognisable landmarks, visited by more than 3 million people each year, the Mont Saint-Michel and its bay are on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. Over 60 buildings within the commune are protected in France as monuments historiques. Now a rocky tidal island, the Mont occupied dry land in prehistoric times; as sea levels rose, erosion reshaped the coastal landscape, several outcrops of granite emerged in the bay, having resisted the wear and tear of the ocean better than the surrounding rocks. These included Lillemer, the Mont Dol and Mont Tombe called Mont Saint-Michel. Mont Saint-Michel consists of leucogranite which solidified from an underground intrusion of molten magma about 525 million years ago, during the Cambrian period, as one of the younger parts of the Mancellian granitic batholith; the Mont has a circumference of about 960 m and its highest point is 92 m above sea level. The tides can vary at 14 metres between highest and lowest water marks.
Popularly nicknamed "St. Michael in peril of the sea" by medieval pilgrims making their way across the flats, the mount can still pose dangers for visitors who avoid the causeway and attempt the hazardous walk across the sands from the neighbouring coast. Polderisation and occasional flooding have created salt marsh meadows that were found to be ideally suited to grazing sheep; the well-flavoured meat that results from the diet of the sheep in the pré salé makes agneau de pré-salé, a local specialty that may be found on the menus of restaurants that depend on income from the many visitors to the mount. The connection between the Mont Saint-Michel and the mainland has changed over the centuries. Connected by a tidal causeway uncovered only at low tide, this was converted into a raised causeway in 1879, preventing the tide from scouring the silt around the mount; the coastal flats have been polderised to create pastureland, decreasing the distance between the shore and the island, the Couesnon River has been canalised, reducing the dispersion of the flow of water.
These factors all encouraged silting-up of the bay. On 16 June 2006, the French prime minister and regional authorities announced a €200 million project to build a hydraulic dam using the waters of the Couesnon and the tides to help remove the accumulated silt, to make Mont Saint-Michel an island again; the construction of the dam began in 2009. The project includes the removal of the causeway and its visitor car park. Since 28 April 2012, the new car park on the mainland has been located 2.5 kilometres from the island. Visitors can use shuttles to cross the causeway. On 22 July 2014, the new bridge by architect Dietmar Feichtinger was opened to the public; the light bridge allows the waters to flow around the island and improves the efficiency of the now operational dam. The project, which cost €209 million, was opened by President François Hollande. On rare occasions, tidal circumstances produce an high "supertide"; the new bridge was submerged on 21 March 2015 by the highest sea level for at least 18 years, as crowds gathered to snap photos.
The original site was founded by an Irish hermit. Mont Saint-Michel was used in the sixth and seventh centuries as an Armorican stronghold of Gallo-Roman culture and power until it was ransacked by the Franks, thus ending the trans-channel culture that had stood since the departure of the Romans in 460. From the fifth to the eighth century, Mont Saint-Michel belonged to the territory of Neustria and, in the early ninth century, was an important place in the marches of Neustria. Before the construction of the first monastic establishment in the 8th century, the island was called Mont Tombe. According to a legend, the archangel Michael appeared in 708 to Aubert of Avranches, the bishop of Avranches, instructed him to build a church on the rocky islet. Unable to defend his kingdom against the assaults of the Vikings, the king of the Franks agreed to grant the Cotentin