A Travellerspoint blog

Abbey church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul

sunny 30 °C

The abbey was founded in 880 by Ste. Richarde, Empress and wife of Charles the Fat, grandson of Charlemagne. There are many stories about her life. Apparently the legend states that, despite being a virtuous wife, over a period of 10 years her husband accused her of misconduct. In a bid to assure him of her innocence, she finally assented to an ordeal by fire. Barefoot, and wearing a shirt covered in wax, the flames nevertheless refused to touch her. Disheartened by her husband's continued mistrust, Richarde left the imperial palace and wandered into the forest. There she was visited by an angel, who ordered her to establish a convent in a specific spot shown to her by a bear. On the banks of the river, she saw a bear scratching in the dirt. It was here that she built the abbey and the bear became its special symbol. She died here in about 895 and was buried in the abbey church. (Info obtained from Wikipedia, of course!!)

However, my further research shows that Richarde was born in Alsace into a noble family and built the abbey on her ancestral lands seven years before her divorce from Charles the Fat. Nonetheless, she was obviously a significant figure in the area, and the church continues to be influential, and to dominate its landscape.

In 1045 the church burned down but was rebuilt as it appears that it had the support of wealthy locals and received many privileges. It was subsequently consecrated by the Pope in 1049 and it was at this time that Richarde was canonized and the church became known as the Abbey Church of Saint Richarde.

There have been many restorations since the rebuilding of 1049. One part of the crypt church dates from around 1045, another 1080, with further additions to the building in the 12th and 18th centuries, and enhancements to the interior throughout. The abbey was disbanded during the French Revolution in the 18thC, and the church rededicated as a parish church dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul.

The church has been classified as an historical monument, as have many other buildings and structures in the area. The abbey is most famous for the Roman Frieze on its exterior, the earliest such sculpture in Alsace.

It is easy to see the part the legend of the bear still plays when looking at the pictures below .. St Richarde and the bear and almost always depicted together. The story is still very much a part of the folklore of the church. On the day we visited a lovely lady (obviously a member of the church) gave us an overview of the significant artworks and history of the church, even taking us down into the crypt church to explain the story of the bear and show us the trapdoor in the floor where the bear had scratched the earth. She stated that many people when visiting step down into the trapdoor, place their hand into the mouth of the stone bear, and make a wish !!!

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My photos do not do justice to the artworks and architecture of this amazing church located in a little village in Alsace. Take a moment to visit this website to see the rest of the interior, and the beautiful Roman Frieze which I omitted to photograph. Professional images

Another aspect of the church which ensures its significance to the village is its bells which toll regularly throughout the day. While they may have been recording just the passing of time, it seemed to me they were often ringing. While it was quite enjoyable for the short time we were there, I imagine they could cause some angst if you lived permanently in the church surrounds.

The unique metal sculptures are the work of local artists Local artists

Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul

Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul


The church dominates the landscape

The church dominates the landscape


Large wall painting showing the foundation of the abbey.   Donated to the abbey in 1840.

Large wall painting showing the foundation of the abbey. Donated to the abbey in 1840.


The original sarcophagus of St Richarde

The original sarcophagus of St Richarde


The Shrine of St Richarde

The Shrine of St Richarde


The beautiful ornately decorated St Richarde's Chapel

The beautiful ornately decorated St Richarde's Chapel


St Richarde and the bear

St Richarde and the bear


The crypt church

The crypt church


The stone bear guarding the trapdoor in the floor of the crypt church marking the spot where the bear scratched the earth

The stone bear guarding the trapdoor in the floor of the crypt church marking the spot where the bear scratched the earth


'Pieta' 1330.

'Pieta' 1330.


Centuries old statue of St Richarde and her bear adorn a town well

Centuries old statue of St Richarde and her bear adorn a town well


St Richarde and her bear atop the fountain in the village square

St Richarde and her bear atop the fountain in the village square


Cooling off in the summer heat in the St Richarde fountain (1876)

Cooling off in the summer heat in the St Richarde fountain (1876)


Olivia cooling off in St Ricarde's fountain

Olivia cooling off in St Ricarde's fountain


The bear eating the local grapes

The bear eating the local grapes


Part of the abbey surrounds.  Note the interesting design on the roof.

Part of the abbey surrounds. Note the interesting design on the roof.


The former residence of the nuns, now a retirement home

The former residence of the nuns, now a retirement home


One of the amazing metal sculptures dotted around the church grounds

One of the amazing metal sculptures dotted around the church grounds

Amazing metal sculptures

Amazing metal sculptures

Posted by patsaunder 00:57 Archived in France Tagged churches buildings history Comments (0)

Andlau

sunny 30 °C

I was very much looking forward to my first visit to France, specifically Andlau (our home base for our holiday), a little village in the Alsace region which is on France's eastern border with Germany and Switzerland.

Since early days Alsace has been an area of interest, being governed by different rulers throughout its history. Since the 17th century, the region has passed between German and French control numerous times, resulting in a mix of German and French cultures. This mix of influences is very evident, especially in the food with lots of sausage, potato, and sauerkraut. French is the official language, but German and Alsatian are also spoken in some parts. The area is predominantly Roman Catholic, and while driving through the villages it is not uncommon to see statues of Jesus on the cross, or Our Lady, along the roadside.

Alsace is an important wine-producing region, mostly white wines. This is also a major tourist attraction with The Route des Vins d'Alsace (wine route of Alsace), an (approximately) 170 km long road taking in the main wine producing areas of the region through 67 of the beautiful villages of the area. You can have much fun and enjoyment exploring any of these, mostly medieval, villages. Many are only a few kilometers from each other, but have their own uniqueness.

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Andlau is one of these small villages located in the valley of the Andlau River in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains. It is a very old village, originally developed around the abbey founded in 880 AD by Sainte Richarde. The Andlau Abbey (Church of Saints Peter and Paul) dominates the village, and is a major attraction. More on it later.

The village is surrounded by vine-covered rolling hills and boasts a number of excellent wine producers. We couldn't visit the area and not ensure we sampled the local produce ... e.g. the Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Crémant d'Alsace ... all excellent, and extremely well priced. We also enjoyed a lovely wine tasting at the family run vineyard 'Ruhlmann-Dirringer'. Exceptional ... we left with 5 cases!! Chas and I were disappointed we won't be able to take some home with us.

We had a comfortable apartment looking out onto the Andlau river Our apartment . It was enjoyable to wander through the back streets and catch a glimpse of the life of the Andlaviens.. Andlau has a population around 1,800. It is very picturesque with authentically restored half-timbered houses lining the streets, and tubs of colourful flowers everywhere.

Thankfully Rikke, Aaron, Chas and I were all on the same page regarding what we wanted from our holiday .. relax, no rushing, no timelines, eating, drinking ....... wander the villages, explore some castles, taste the local food and wines. But what about Olivia. Luckily Rikke found a lovely lake nearby where the locals go for a swim. The lady at the entrance gate was thrilled when we said we were from Australia and Denmark. Chas and I (being oldies) even got in for free!! It's always fun acting like a local, and we enjoyed our picnic surrounded by lots of French families having a fun day out.

And importantly, no winter clothing. The weather was fantastic. No rain (apart from a couple of thunderstorms during the night), and temps from low to mid 30s, about 10degC warmer than Aarhus. At last ... summer!!

Our apartment ..  top balcony

Our apartment .. top balcony


Looking towards the Abbey Church

Looking towards the Abbey Church


Andlau River from the window

Andlau River from the window


Andlau River runs through the village

Andlau River runs through the village


Church of Saints Peter and Paul

Church of Saints Peter and Paul

Vineyards

Vineyards


Overlooking the village

Overlooking the village


Vineyards

Vineyards


Brightly coloured half-timbered houses

Brightly coloured half-timbered houses


The yellow building is a lovely restaurant, the red building the post office

The yellow building is a lovely restaurant, the red building the post office


I think this was the school

I think this was the school


The main square

The main square


Timeline on this house is '1670'

Timeline on this house is '1670'


Water pump

Water pump


A grotto to 'Our Lady' beside a path in the village

A grotto to 'Our Lady' beside a path in the village

Vineyards beside the pathway

Vineyards beside the pathway

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Olivia set to go ...

Olivia set to go ...

Rikke and Olivia enjoying a swim in the lake frequented by the locals

Rikke and Olivia enjoying a swim in the lake frequented by the locals

A refreshing swim

A refreshing swim

It's summer ...  mango time!!

It's summer ... mango time!!

Posted by patsaunder 04:24 Archived in France Comments (0)

Some fun along the way ...

all seasons in one day

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Unfortunately time stops for no-one, and we are already half-way into our time in Denmark. . Apart from the weather ... that is the mostly cold, wet and windy SUMMER weather ... we have had a wonderful time with Olivia, Rikke and Aaron. So I thought I would share some of our fun times.

This trip has been about spending time with, and getting to know Olivia. It has been wonderful, and such fun. She is engaging and easy to be with, and is very creative which is expressed in many ways ... her love of dance and music, her enjoyment of drawing which often shows amazing attention to detail and grasp of developed concepts, her love of dressing up and all things 'pretty', and her very definite ideas of what goes best with what!

For example, one day while Rikke and Aaron were preparing lunch for 'the grandies' (including Rikke's Mum and Dad) Olivia put on a spontaneous concert, including a puppet show with the King and Queen in the castle, and singing several songs in Danish, all of which she made up as she went along, with lovely melodies, and graceful movements included. We were all suitably impressed. She loves to sing, and often does so while playing.

Chas and I have been able to pick her up from kindy and enjoy several hours together before mum and dad came home from work, either at home, or at the park. We had a fun visit to the Dannebrog Circus (which was excellent). Aaron was 'lucky' to be volunteered as the fallguy in the clown's routine, and Olivia chosen to participate in the finale parade around the ring. It was a special night.

We also had a day at the beach, and lots of fun playing inside and outside games (she is 'very' competitive and adventurous). We went to see the Danish Queen, Margrethe II, open the new Aarhus library, watched the burning of witches at the mid-summer celebration, celebrated my birthday together, and had a lovely evening reconnecting with Rikke's family in Kolding .

It's been great fun .... and still more to come, including two weeks in France. I hope the warm weather continues.

An evening at the circus

An evening at the circus


Aaron was 'volunteered' as the fallguy in the clown's routine.  All he had to do was walk through the door, but ....

Aaron was 'volunteered' as the fallguy in the clown's routine. All he had to do was walk through the door, but ....


Olivia was chosen to participate in the finale parade around the ring.

Olivia was chosen to participate in the finale parade around the ring.

Picnic at Bellevue Beach on the first hot day of summer.   We didn't see 'summer' again for another couple of weeks!!

Picnic at Bellevue Beach on the first hot day of summer. We didn't see 'summer' again for another couple of weeks!!


At Bellevue Beach

At Bellevue Beach


Chas looking after our belongings while we checked out the surf.

Chas looking after our belongings while we checked out the surf.


Playing 'hide and seek' at the beach .. Olivia finding her treasure (special rock)

Playing 'hide and seek' at the beach .. Olivia finding her treasure (special rock)


A jelly fish lesson from Dad

A jelly fish lesson from Dad


Still too cold for a 'real dip' but fun anyway!!

Still too cold for a 'real dip' but fun anyway!!


Bellevue Beach  ..  an unspoilt Danish beach

Bellevue Beach .. an unspoilt Danish beach

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A tour of Olivia's kindy "This is where my things go Nanna"

Is Queen Margrethe here yet?

Is Queen Margrethe here yet?


Yep, here she is

Yep, here she is

A lovely evening - the 'St. John's Eve' Danish midsummer celebration, a community affair when everyone comes together around a bonfire to sing songs, and send the witches away by burning them on the fire

A lovely evening - the 'St. John's Eve' Danish midsummer celebration, a community affair when everyone comes together around a bonfire to sing songs, and send the witches away by burning them on the fire


At Danish mid-summer celebration

At Danish mid-summer celebration


Picnic - mid-summer celebration

Picnic - mid-summer celebration

Playing shop ..   Chas testing the merchandise

Playing shop .. Chas testing the merchandise


Fun in the park

Fun in the park

Chas giving Olivia an 'underdog' (where you push high enough to run under the swing).  She loved it but insisted on calling it the 'underground'.

Chas giving Olivia an 'underdog' (where you push high enough to run under the swing). She loved it but insisted on calling it the 'underground'.

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I thought I would teach Olivia some games from my childhood. She ended up teaching me!!

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"First to 10 wins Nanna"

Chas testing Olivia's balance.   She did very well.

Chas testing Olivia's balance. She did very well.


Dominos Chas??

Dominos Chas??

At the beauty parlour.  She is very good at head massage!

At the beauty parlour. She is very good at head massage!


Now for eye shadow

Now for eye shadow

Playing Jenga ..  she's good!

Playing Jenga .. she's good!


Fun on the trampoline ...  Unfortunately it wasn't very helpful for my knees!!  I'm still feeling the effects.

Fun on the trampoline ... Unfortunately it wasn't very helpful for my knees!! I'm still feeling the effects.

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Fun on the trampoline - "Got you Nanna"

Celebratory dinner at the marina for the first 'real' day of summer, along with everyone else in Aarhus!

Celebratory dinner at the marina for the first 'real' day of summer, along with everyone else in Aarhus!

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Posted by patsaunder 11:46 Archived in Denmark Tagged children Comments (0)

Aarhus Women's Museum (Kvindemuseet)

rain

Aarhus' Women's Museum is one of the world's few women's history museums with the focus firmly on women's lives. I do not know of any other women's museum. I have certainly not visited any other. This is a very unique and interesting museum. The exhibitions are displayed over three floors of the lovely historic old city hall (1857).

The Women's Museum

The Women's Museum


Museum poster

Museum poster


Display on the outside wall of the museum.

Display on the outside wall of the museum.

This year, 2015, the museum celebrates the 100 year anniversary of two very important events in Danish women's history.

Young Women's Voices ... In 1915 only 14% of the population had the vote ... and only men ... in accordance with the then constitution. There was widespread distrust of common people in general, and women's ability to deal with, and take responsibility for, the larger issues of society. Five groups were excluded from democratic citizenship ... women, servants, paupers, criminals and fools.

After many battles, and by forming alliances with men already in parliament, a majority vote brought changes to the Constitution, which finally made it possible for all men and women who were Danish citizens over 25 years, and with a fixed address, to vote and be elected to the Danish Parliament. This change was significant as it allowed a large number of 'untrained' voters all at once into the power which had previously belonged to a minority.

There was an excellent video on display showing a procession of a large number of women walking through the streets. I'm not sure if it was a protest, or a celebration of their achievement in 1915. However, it was powerful to see and to reflect on the courage they showed in daring to challenge the status quo.

With a focus on three young women of the time, the exhibition invites women to consider their own position in relation to the value of democracy, equality and career.

The poster displaying the year in which women obtained the vote across the globe is especially poignant. New Zealand first in 1883, then Australia (Commonwealth) 1902 (white women only), but South Australia was first in 1895, then Western Australia 1899. Kuwait 2005. Saudi Arabia and the Vatican City are two countries that still lag behind in equal voting rights.

Listing of the year women achieved the right to vote in various countries around the world.

Listing of the year women achieved the right to vote in various countries around the world.

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Fighting for Peace ... this exhibition reflects on the founding of the International League for Peace and Freedom, during WW1, when 1200 women from 11 countries (including women from Denmark) gathered in The Hague from 27-29 April 1915 to protest the ongoing war, and to discuss what they could do to stop the havoc of war. Their message: "We, the mothers and wives of Europe, will no longer tolerate this insane killing. We demand peace .. demand it with the holy right of mothers."

The League still continues, and has this year been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. This exhibition honors the fact that Danish women have continued to participate in peace work since that first Congress in 1915.

The close link between feminism and the fight for peace is also addressed. As the culture of war reinforces the privileges of the powerful and enhances exploitation, the exhibition illustrates that war and conflicts often involving sexual abuse and the trafficking of women, stating that, on a global scale prostitution is the second largest business only surpassed by military expenses.

Unfortunately the world remains as war-ridden as ever.

Beautiful interpretation of the League's symbol painted on silk

Beautiful interpretation of the League's symbol painted on silk

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The history of Childhood ... this exhibition is a trip down memory lane of a Danish childhood, surprisingly similar to one in Australia with similar toys, educational resources and clothing. The exhibition allows children to actively participate by climbing on the displays, writing on the walls, and trying on the old clothing. It also allows the visitor to choose a card showing information relating to a specific individual. You can follow in their footsteps by hunting for their items identified on the reverse of the card. I thought this another example of the Danes ability to showcase the exhibits very effectively.

School room and resources

School room and resources


Example of children's toys

Example of children's toys


Carl, born 1865

Carl, born 1865


Hunt to find these items relating to your chosen individual

Hunt to find these items relating to your chosen individual


Shoes, including local clogs

Shoes, including local clogs


Children's clothing - very well displayed

Children's clothing - very well displayed

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City Council Hall ... While women obtained the right to vote in national elections in 1915, they gained the right for municipal elections in 1908. This exhibit displays artefacts and memorabilia from 1909 when Dagmar Pedersen became a member of the city council as the first woman in Aarhus. The green table in the central room is the original furniture where members came together. However, photos show that even though women had won the right to vote and be elected, for many years men were far more represented .

It is ironic that while the building was Initially erected as the City Hall in 1857 as a place for powerful men, it is now a women's museum.

Multi-level digital cutout of Dagmar Pedersen

Multi-level digital cutout of Dagmar Pedersen


It all comes together

It all comes together


The green table in the central room of the City Hall as it was in 1909

The green table in the central room of the City Hall as it was in 1909

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Final display ... the last exhibition displayed a range of personal items of a women in early 20thC. Again very well displayed and interesting.

The exhibition room

The exhibition room


Personal clothing

Personal clothing


Dresses, jackets and hats

Dresses, jackets and hats


Dresses, jackets, handbags and gloves

Dresses, jackets, handbags and gloves


Lovely display of personal items

Lovely display of personal items


Personal items

Personal items


Items relating to contraception and menstruation

Items relating to contraception and menstruation


Sewing room and equipment

Sewing room and equipment

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We always enjoy lunch at the cafe when visiting the museum. It has an olde worlde charm, and the food is lovely.

Lovely atmosphere of the museum cafe decorated with selected items from exhibits. Lovely food, mainly organic ingredients.

Lovely atmosphere of the museum cafe decorated with selected items from exhibits. Lovely food, mainly organic ingredients.

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Old City Hall - historical building.

Old City Hall - historical building.


The old washer woman

The old washer woman


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Posted by patsaunder 01:45 Archived in Denmark Tagged historical denmark Comments (0)

Aarhus Cathedral (Domkirke)

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Aarhus Domkirke has stood as the dominant structure in the city since the late 12thC, albeit with rebuilding, and changes in style over the centuries. At 93m, it is the longest church in Denmark.

It has been dedicated to St Clement, the patron saint of the town of Aarhus, and of Aarhus Cathedral, since its beginning. He was Pope from 92-101, and according to legend, was thrown into the sea with an anchor around his neck. Therefore, the anchor has become his symbol, as depicted on the cathedral tower.

There are many beautiful art works to see in the cathedral. For example, the beautiful frescoes which adorn the walls. The cathedral has the largest total area of walls and arches covered by the frescoes from before the reformation (16thC) (including one that is the largest in Denmark). They were all made between 1470 and 1520, except one which is from ~1300.

The Altar .. was inaugurated into the church in 1479, and is the most precious work of art in the church. It comprises three sets of panels each of which is displayed at certain times of the year, e.g. The Feast Day panels (a carved work coated with 23.5carat gold) are displayed from Christmas morning until Ash Wednesday, The Passiontide from Ash Wednesday Until Easter morning. The Feast Day panels return and remain until Advent, when the Advent panels are disclosed until Christmas Eve. They were restored in 1975-81 and now appear as they were when presented to St Clement's Cathedral in 1479.

Also, The Votive Ship .... dating 1720 ... and with an interesting story. It is believed it was built in Holland for The Russian Tsar, Peter the Great, who had ordered warships from Holland. Instead of doing drawings of their ships, the shipyard made a model that was sent to Russia. Unfortunately the ship carrying the model encountered a violent storm off the tip of Denmark. It was wrecked, but the model drifted ashore almost undamaged. It was purchased by fishermen from Aarhus who donated it to the Cathedral. It is amazing to think it was built as a model ... at 2.65m long, 3.5m tall, it is the largest votive ship in any Danish church. The attention to detail is amazing. Denmark is a seafaring country, so all aspects of the sea are part of Danish psyche.
(ps ... A votive ship, sometimes called a church ship, is a ship model displayed in a church. They serve as thanks for the protection on the sea, and are constructed and given as gifts to the church by seamen and ship builders.)

The Golden Portals .. these are wrought-iron latticework portals made by a German master smith. There are five in the cathedral, with the most striking consisting of four panels. The workmanship is beautiful.

The Pulpit ... erected in 1588, it is carved in oak. Nine stories from the Old and New Testament are depicted.

The Font ... made of bronze it was cast in 1481 in a little town in north Germany. It depicts four scenes .. The Baptism, The Crucifixion, Christ on the Day of Judgement, and the Coronation of Mary. Between these nine apostles are represented, with the font 'legs' depicting the four Evangelists. The detail is astounding.

The Principal Organ ... originally built 1730, it has been enhanced several times up to 1983. It is the largest organ in Denmark. However, the Cathedral also has another organ which is used for weddings, services, and the amazing concert series which is held over the summer. On the day we visited one of the organists was practicing. Nice.

In all a magnificent structure, with the most amazing art works, all completed by masters of their time.

Aarhus Domkirke

Aarhus Domkirke


The Domkirke dominates the city

The Domkirke dominates the city


Beautiful designs on the cathedral tower.  Note the anchor  ..  St Clement's symbol

Beautiful designs on the cathedral tower. Note the anchor .. St Clement's symbol


Largest frescoe, depicting St Christopher and St Clement

Largest frescoe, depicting St Christopher and St Clement

Detail of frescoe

Detail of frescoe


St George and the Dragon frescoe

St George and the Dragon frescoe


Frescoes adorning the arches

Frescoes adorning the arches


Aarhus Domkirke alterpiece .. I think this is the 'Feast Day' panel.

Aarhus Domkirke alterpiece .. I think this is the 'Feast Day' panel.


The Domkirke Altar

The Domkirke Altar


Cathedral pew

Cathedral pew


Aarhus Domkirke beauitful arches

Aarhus Domkirke beauitful arches


Arches

Arches


The Votive Ship

The Votive Ship


The Votive Ship

The Votive Ship


Bronze font

Bronze font


Bautiful craftsmanship

Bautiful craftsmanship


The Principal Organ

The Principal Organ


Second Organ

Second Organ


An art style depicted in many Danish churches

An art style depicted in many Danish churches


Detail

Detail


Example of Golden Portals

Example of Golden Portals


The Pulpit

The Pulpit

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Posted by patsaunder 02:11 Archived in Denmark Tagged churches art buildings historical denmark Comments (0)

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