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Lyons,Fr. Lyon (both: lyôN`), city (1990 pop. 422,444), capital of Rhône dept., E central France, at the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. As an economic center and a densely populated metropolis it is second only to Paris. Historically important as a commercial, financial, and silk-weaving center—a stock exchange was founded there in 1506—Lyons is a river port with automobile, chemical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and software industries. The city has many institutions of higher education and fine museums. It is a popular year-round tourist center, and it is linked to Paris by a high-speed rail line. The headquarters of InterpolInterpol,
acronym for the International Criminal Police Organization, a worldwide clearinghouse for police information. Conceived in 1914, Interpol was formally established in 1923 with headquarters at Vienna.
..... Click the link for more information. are in Lyons.
Founded in 43 B.C. as a Roman colony, ancient Lugdunum soon became the principal city of GaulGaul
, Lat. Gallia, ancient designation for the land S and W of the Rhine, W of the Alps, and N of the Pyrenees. The name was extended by the Romans to include Italy from Lucca and Rimini northwards, excluding Liguria.
..... Click the link for more information. . There Christianity was first introduced into Gaul, and the importance of Lyons until c.1300 was chiefly religious. One of the earliest archiepiscopal sees in France, Lyons (which after the breakup of the Carolingian empire passed to the kingdom of Arles) was ruled by its archbishops until c.1307, when Philip IV incorporated the city and LyonnaisLyonnais
, region and former province, E central France, now divided into the Rhône and Loire depts. It included Lyonnais proper (the region around Lyons, its capital), which Philip IV acquired c.
..... Click the link for more information. proper into the French crownlands. Of great importance were the emergence (12th cent.) of the WaldensesWaldenses
Protestant religious group of medieval origin, called in French Vaudois. They originated in the late 12th cent. as the Poor Men of Lyons, a band organized by Peter Waldo, a wealthy merchant of Lyons, who gave away his property (c.
..... Click the link for more information. and the councils held there in 1245 and 1274.
Lyons became a silk center in the 15th cent. The industry was pre-eminent by the 17th cent., and reached its peak in the 19th cent. In 1793, Lyons was devastated by French Revolutionary troops after a counterrevolutionary insurrection, but it recovered quickly thanks to the invention of the Jacquard loom. During the German occupation in World War II (1940–44), Lyons was the capital of the French resistance movement. In 1987, Klaus Barbie ("The Butcher of Lyons"), who was head of the Gestapo in Lyons from 1942 to 1944, was tried and sentenced to life imprisonment for crimes against humanity.
A handsome modern city, Lyons has preserved interesting old sections, notably around the primatial Cathedral of St. John (12th–14th cent.). Its 1831 opera house has undergone a renovation (completed 1993) that included the controversial addition of a glass dome to the original carved stone structure. The large glass, steel, and concrete Confluence Museum (2014), situated on the tip of the peninsula where the city's two rivers meet, features social and natural science exhibits. Annual international trade fairs are held at Lyons.