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Cluny (klōˈnē, Fr. klünēˈ) [key], former abbey, E France, in the present Saône-et-Loire dept., founded (910) by St. Berno, a Burgundian monk and reformer. Cluny was one of the chief religious and cultural centers of Europe. The third abbey church built on the site, Cluny III (11th cent.), was designed in the mature Romanesque style. As reconstructed by Kenneth J. Conant, Cluny III was a five-aisle basilica with double transepts and five radiating chapels around the apse. Towers marked the major and minor crossings of the nave, the major transept arms, and the western facade. When completed in the 12th cent., Cluny III was the largest church in the world. The abbey was mostly destroyed during the French Revolution.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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