Monday, March 6, 2017
The Gulf of Morbihan 5.5.2005
The Gulf of Morbihan is a natural harbour on the coast of the Département of Morbihan in the south of Brittany, France. This English name is taken from the French version: le golfe du Morbihan. It is more accurately called 'the Morbihan' directly from its Breton name which is Ar Mor Bihan, meaning 'the little sea' (Compare the Welsh y môr bychan), as opposed to the Atlantic Ocean outside, (Ar Mor Bras). Legend says that there are as many islands in the Gulf as there are days of the year. However, this is untrue and the gulf has about 40, depending on the tide. Many islands are private property, except the largest two, l'Île-aux-Moines and l'Île-d'Arz.
The area around the gulf features an extraordinary range of megalithic monuments. There are passage dolmens, stepped pyramids with underground dolmen chambers, stone circles, and giant menhirs (Remember Obelix - Asterix's buddy whose name refers both to Obelisks (possibly a reference to him being a menhir delivery man, menhirs looking somewhat like obelisks), among others. The site best known to outsiders is Carnac, where remains of a dozen rows of huge standing stones run for over ten kilometers. The passage grave of Gavrinis, on a small island in the Gulf, is one of the most important such sites in Europe. Some of the ruins have been dated to at least 3300 BC — 200 years older than England's Stonehenge.