Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne

Historic Fortified City of Carcassonne

The Cité de Carcassonne is a medieval citadel located in the French city of Carcassonne, in the department of Aude, Languedoc-Roussillon region. It is located on a hill on the right bank of the River Aude, in the south-east part of the city proper. It was the historic city of Carcassonne and features on the emblem of local rugby league team AS Carcassonne.

Founded during the Gallo-Roman period, the citadel derives its reputation from its 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) long double surrounding walls interpersed by 52 towers. The town has about 2,500 years of history and has seen the Romans, Visigoths, Saracens and Crusaders. At the beginning of its history it was a Gaulish settlement then in the 3rd century A.D., the Romans decided to transform it into a fortified town. The town was finally annexed to the kingdom of France in 1247 A.D. It provided a strong French frontier between France and the Crown of Aragon.

In 1659, after the Treaty of the Pyrenees, the province of Roussillon became a part of France, and the town lost its military significance. Fortifications were abandoned and the town became one of the economic centres of France, concentrating on the woollen textile industry.

In 1849 the French government decided that the city fortifications should be demolished. This decision was strongly opposed by the local people. Jean-Pierre Cros-Mayrevieille and Prosper Mérimée, an eminent archaeologist and historian, led a campaign to preserve the fortress as an historical monument. The government later reversed its decision and in 1853 restoration work began. Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, the architect, was charged with renovating the fortress. Viollet-le-Duc’s work was criticised during his lifetime as inappropriate to the climate and traditions of the region. After his death in 1879, the restoration work was continued by his pupil, Paul Boeswillwald, and later by the architect Nodet.

The citadel was restored at the end of the 19th century and in 1997 it was added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites.

Outline
The Cité de Carcassonne is a medieval citadel located in the French city of Carcassonne, in the department of Aude, Languedoc-Roussillon region.

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