Lantern of the dead

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The lantern of the dead in Saint-Pierre-d'Oléron is the highest in France, at 23m.

A Lantern of the Dead is a free-standing structure much like a tower. They were built during the Middle Ages mostly in central France. In the upper part of the structure there is an opening, which can hold a light. Most of these larnerns were built in the 12th and 13th century. Their exact function is unclear, as there are no written sources about them. One of the theories states that they were built to satisfy different other beliefs, which had been around before Christianity. One of the ideas was that the deceased needed a light to find their way home. Lanterns of the dead exist in different forms: cylindrical, square, as a hexagon, or polygon, as a column. Sometimes they are attached to a chapel.