Carcassonne
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member manchanegra
N 43° 12.412 E 002° 21.845
31T E 448341 N 4783983
Quick Description: Carcassonne is the largest fortified city in Europe and one of the most well preserved. Even if carcassonne itself can be considered a Castle, Carcassonne´s Castle is inside the city walls and is called "Le Château Comtal"
Location: France
Date Posted: 10/25/2006 4:31:05 AM
Waymark Code: WMWCD
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member tiki-4
Views: 116

Long Description:
First signs of settlement in the region have been dated to about 3500 BC, but the hill site of Carsac—a Celtic place-name that has been retained at other sites in the south—became an important trading place in the 6th century BC. The Volcae Tectosages fortified the oppidum.

Carcassonne became strategically identified when Romans fortified the hilltop 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 ceded Septimania to the Visigoth king Theodoric II who had held Carcassonne since 453; he built more fortifications at Carcassonne, which was a frontier post on the northern marches: traces of them still stand. Theodoric is thought to have begun the predecessor of the basilica that is now dedicated to Saint Nazaire. In 508 the Visigoths successfully foiled attacks of the Frankish king Clovis. Saracens from Barcelona took Carcassonne in 725, but King Pippin the Younger drove them away in 759.

In 760, Pippin took most of the south of France, although he was unable to penetrate the impregnable fortress of Carcassonne.

In 1067 Carcassonne became, through marriage, the property of Raimond Bernard Trencavel, viscount of Albi and Nîmes. In the following centuries the Trencavel family allied in succession either with the counts of Barcelona or of Toulouse. They built the Château Comtal and the Basilica of Saint-Nazaire. In 1096 Pope Urban II blessed the foundation stones of the new cathedral, a Catholic bastion against the Cathar heretics.

Carcassonne became famous in its role in the Albigensian Crusades, when the city was a stronghold of French Cathars. In August 1209 the crusading army of Simon de Montfort forced its citizens to surrender. After capturing Raymond-Roger de Trencavel and imprisoning and allowing him to die, Montfort made himself the new viscount. He added to the fortifications. Carcassonne became a border citadel between France and Aragon.

In 1240 Trencavel's son tried to reconquer his old domain but in vain. The city submitted to the rule of kingdom of France in 1247, and King Louis IX founded the new part of the town across the river. He and his successor Philip III built the outer ramparts. Contemporary opinion still considered the fortress impregnable. During the Hundred Years' War, Edward the Black Prince failed to take the city in 1355, although his troops destroyed the Lower Town.

In 1659, the Treaty of Pyrenees transferred the border province of Roussillon to France, and Carcassonne's military significance was reduced. Fortifications were abandoned, and the city became mainly an economic center that concentrated on the woollen textile industry, for which a 1723 source quoted by Fernand Braudel found it "the manufacturing center of Languedoc"

The fortified city
Carcassonne was struck from the roster of official fortifications under Napoleon and the Restoration, and the fortified cité of Carcassonne fell into such disrepair that the French government decided that it should be demolished. A decree to that effect that was made official in 1849 caused an uproar. The antiquary and mayor of Carcassonne, Jean-Pierre Cros-Mayrevieille, and the writer Prosper Mérimée, the first inspector of ancient monuments, led a campaign to preserve the fortress as a historical monument. Later in the year the architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, already at work restoring the Basilica of Saint-Nazaire, was commissioned to renovate the place.


Fortified wall of Carcassonne, with its cleared dry moat.In 1853, works began with the west and southwest walling, followed by the towers of the porte Narbonnaise and the principal entrance to the cité. The fortifications were consolidated here and there but the chief attention was paid to restoring the roofing of the towers and the ramparts, where Viollet-le-Duc ordered the destruction of structures that had encroached against the walls, some of them of considerable age. Viollet-le-Duc left copious notes and drawings at his death in 1879, when his pupil Paul Boeswillwald continued the rehabilitation of Carcassonne.

The restoration was strongly criticized during Viollet-le-Duc's lifetime. Fresh from work in the north of France, 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, in a snow-free environment. Yet, overall, Viollet-le-Duc's achievement at Carcassonne is agreed to be a work of genius, though not of strictest authenticity.

Fortifications consists of a double ring of ramparts and 53 towers.

The given coordinates will take you to the "Chateau Comtal", Trencavel´s Castle in Carcassonne.

Carcassonne is also a UNESCO World Heritage and a must see and visit if you´re in the south of France.

There is an admission charge if you want to visit the Castle and part of the city walls.
Accessibility: Full access

Condition: Intact

Admission Charge?: yes

Website: [Web Link]

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