Caen


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Caen

Caen (käN), city, capital of Calvados dept., N France, in Normandy, on the Orne River. It is a busy port, canalized (by Napoleon I) directly to the sea. The commercial center of the rich Calvados region, it is highly industrialized, with a thermal power station and extensive steelworks along the Orne; the nearby iron-ore mines are among the largest in France. The city's manufactures include motor vehicle parts, electronic gear, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and paper. Caen's importance dates from the 11th cent., when it was a favorite residence of William I of England (William the Conqueror). During the French Revolution it was a rallying place for the federalists; Charlotte Corday lived there.

The town, an architectural gem, was largely destroyed by bombardment during the Normandy campaign of World War II; the 14th-century Church of St. Peter's lost its famous spire, while the castle of William the Conqueror and the town hall (17th cent.) were destroyed beyond repair. However, three outstanding examples of 11th-century Norman architecture were preserved: the Abbaye aux Hommes [men's abbey], founded by William the Conqueror, who is buried there; the Abbaye aux Dames [women's abbey], founded by Queen Matilda; and the Church of St. Nicholas. The university (founded 1432 and also destroyed) has been rebuilt; in 1964 its technical institute became the National School of Advanced Electronics and Electromechanic Studies. A school of hydrography is also in Caen.

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Caen

 

a city and port in northern France (Normandy), on the Orne River, near the coast of the English Channel, with which it is linked by a ship canal. It is the administrative center of Calvados department. Population, 114, 000 (1968). There is a metallurgical industry, as well as machine-building, textile, chemical, cement, ceramic, food, and woodworking enterprises. Coal is imported in large amounts to meet the needs of the lower Normandy iron-ore region, of which Caen is the center. Dairy products and wine are among the city’s exports.

Caen was founded in the early 11th century, and its university was founded in 1432. Architectural monuments include the Romanesque churches of La Trinité (1059-66) and St. Nicholas (end of the 11th century), an 1 lth-century castle, the Church of St. Peter (13-14th centuries, rebuilt in the 16th century in Early Renaissance style), the late Gothic Church of St. John (15th century), the baroque Notre-Dame-de-la-Gloriette (17th century), the ruins of the Hôtel d’Escoville (1538), and the monastery with its Romanesque church of St. Etienne (1064-77) and buildings from the early 18th century (now a lycée). Caen was rebuilt after its destruction in 1944. New avenues were laid out in the center, and in 1957 the university campus was completed (architects, H. Bernard and E. Hur). A museum of fine arts is located here.

REFERENCE

Doré, R. Caen et Bayeux. Caen, 1950.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Caen

an industrial city in NW France. Pop.: 113 987 (1999)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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