Carcassonne

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Carcassonne
Carcassona

Carcassonne-vignes.jpg
Carcassonne is located in France
Carcassonne
Administration
Country France
Region Languedoc-Roussillon
Department Aude
Arrondissement Carcassonne
Intercommunality Carcassonne
Mayor Jean-Claude Perez (PS)
(2008–2014)
Statistics
Elevation 81–250 m (266–820 ft)
(avg. 111 m/364 ft)
Land area1 65.08 km2 (25.13 sq mi)
Population2 47,634  (2008)
 - Density 732 /km2 (1,900 /sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 11069/ 11000
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Coordinates: 43°12′47″N 2°21′07″E / 43.2131°N 2.352°E / 43.2131; 2.352

Carcassonne (Occitan: Carcassona) is a fortified French town, in the Aude département in the Languedoc. It is separated into the fortified Cité de Carcassonne and the more expansive lower city, the ville basse.

This bastide, which was thoroughly restored from 1853 by the theorist and architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997. In 1999, the city had a population of 43.950 people.

Geography[change | edit source]

The town is 90 km (56 miles) southeast of Toulouse in the gap between the Pyrenees and the Massif Central of France. Carcassonne is at the crossing of two major traffic routes: the route leading from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and that from the Massif Central to Spain, skirting the Pyrenees. Both routes exist since ancient history.

History[change | edit source]

Cathars being expelled from Carcassonne in 1209

Romans fortified the hilltop of Carcassonne around 100 BC and eventually made it the colonia of Julia Carsaco, later Carcasum. The main part of the lower courses of the northern ramparts dates from Gallo-Roman times.

In 462 the Romans officially left and the Visigothic king Theodoric II built more fortifications at Carcassonne, some of them still stand. In 760, Pippin was unable to take Carcassonne, although he was able to most of the south of France.

In 1067 Carcassonne became the property of Raimond Bernard Trencavel, viscount of Albi and Nîmes. Carcassonne became famous in its role in the Albigensian Crusades, when the city was a stronghold of occitan cathars. In August 1209 the crusading army of Simon de Montfort forced its citizens to surrender. He added to the fortifications. Carcassonne became a border citadel between France and Aragon.

The fortified city[change | edit source]

The fortified city of Carcassonne and the Pont Vieux crossing the Aude river

The fortifications consist of a double ring of ramparts and 53 towers. 1849 the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc took over restoration works. At his death in 1879 his pupil Paul Boeswillwald, and later the architect Nodet continued the rehabilitation of Carcassonne. The restoration was strongly criticized during Viollet-le-Duc's lifetime because he made the error of using slates and restoring the roofs as pointed cones, where local practice was traditionally of tile roofing and low slopes, as in this region snow was very seldom. But today Viollet-le-Duc's work at Carcassonne is thought to be a work of genius, even if it is not exactly the same as it was.

Education[change | edit source]

A campus of the École nationale de l'aviation civile (French civil aviation academy) is in Carcassonne.

Transports[change | edit source]

Other websites[change | edit source]