Carcassonne

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Carcassonne

(kärkäsôn`), city (1990 pop. 44,911), capital of Aude dept., S France, in Languedoc. The old city, a medieval fortress atop a hill, is one of the architectural marvels of Europe. The new city, across the Aude River, is a farm trade center with rubber, shoe, and textile manufactures. Tourism, however, is the main industry. The Romans fortified the hilltop site in the 1st cent. B.C.; towers built (c.6th cent.) by the Visigoths are still intact; and the viscounts of Carcassonne added to the fortifications in the 12th cent. A stronghold of the AlbigensesAlbigenses
[Lat.,=people of Albi, one of their centers], religious sect of S France in the Middle Ages. Beliefs and Practices

Officially known as heretics, they were actually Cathari, Provençal adherents of a doctrine similar to the Manichaean dualistic
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, the fortress was taken by Simon de Montfort in 1209. It yielded to the king in 1247, at which time Louis IX (St. Louis) founded the new city across the river. The outer ramparts of the fortress were constructed during St. Louis's reign, and the work was continued, with intricate defense devices, under Philip III. When completed, the fortress was widely considered impregnable; Edward the Black Prince was stopped at its walls in 1355. However, its usefulness ended in 1659, with the annexation to France of the province of Roussillon. The ramparts were gradually abandoned and fell into disrepair; they were restored by Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th cent.

Carcassonne

 

a city in southern France, capital of the department of Aude (historically, the region of Languedoc). It is situated on the Aude River near a canal linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Garonne River. Population, 46, 000 (1968). The city is an important transportation junction. Industry includes the production of wine, spirits, rubber products, clothing, headwear, and footwear.

On the right bank of the Aude is the upper (old) city, containing a double line of ramparts with gates and 52 towers. The inner ring was built at the end of the fifth century, and the outer, in the 13th. Also located there are a citadel built in the second third of the 12th century, the Romanesque-Gothic cathedral of St. Nazaire, and a medieval bridge over the Aude. On the left bank is the lower city (Ville Basse), founded in 1247, with the Gothic churches of St. Michael and St. Vincent (13th and 14th centuries); it has straight streets. A museum of fine arts is also located in Carcassonne.

REFERENCES

Poux, J. La Cité de Carcassonne, vols. 1–3. Toulouse, 1931–38.
Morel, P. Carcassonne. Grenoble-Paris, 1962.

Carcassonne

a city in SW France: extensive remains of medieval fortifications. Pop.: 43 950 (1999)