Nîmes

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Nîmes

(nēm), city (1990 pop. 133,607), capital of Gard dept., S France, in Cévennes. An important market town and rail hub, its products include machinery, textiles and clothing, and tinware. An old Gallic town, it became Roman c.120 B.C. As Nemausus it was an important city, one of the finest of Narbonensis province (see 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.
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). United to the French crown in 1258, it later became a stronghold of the Huguenots but suffered greatly from the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685). Nîmes is famous for its remarkable collection of Roman relics. The magnificent Roman arena (1st cent. A.D.), seating up to 24,000, is still in use. The well-preserved Maison Carée [square house], a Roman temple (1st or 2d cent. A.D.), one of the finest extant examples of Roman architecture, houses a museum of Roman antiquities. Other Roman relics are the temple of Diana (2d cent. A.D.), a watchtower, and the nearby Pont du GardPont du Gard
, Roman aqueduct across the Gard River, Gard dept., S France. Built in 19 B.C. to supply Nîmes with water, it consists of three tiers of arches and is c.900 ft (270 m) long and c.160 ft (50 m) high.
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.

Nîmes

 

a city in southern France at the foot of the Monts Garrigues. Prefecture of Gard Department; population, 124,900 (1968). Nîmes is a transportation junction. There are food-processing (wine, olive oil), knitwear, garment, shoe, and machine-building industries. The city was formerly well known for the manufacture of kerchiefs and fabric for furniture.

In the late fourth and third centuries B.C., Nîmes (Nemausus in Latin) was a settlement of a Celtic tribe, the Volcae Arecomici. In 121 or 120 B.C., the city was taken by Rome. Nîmes was plundered by Teutonic peoples and Arabs from the fourth to eighth centuries A.D. In the 12th century the city was an important trade and handicrafts center and won communal rights. In 1185 it became part of the countship of Toulouse. Nîmes was one of the hotbeds of the Albigensian heresy and was taken by the army of King Louis VIII of France in 1226. The city was joined to the French crown in 1229, as were other southern cities. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Nîmes was an important Huguenot center. It was the site of the Camisard uprising of the early 18th century.

Nîmes is famous for its many well-preserved Roman structures. These remains include the Porte d’Auguste (after 16 B.C.), the Corinthian temple Maison Carrée Oust prior to the Common Era), an amphitheater (late first century B.C. to early first century A.D.), the Temple of Diana (some of the thermae date to the early second century A.D.), the Tour Magne (possibly ruins of a mausoleum from the time of Augustus), and the aqueduct Pont du Gard (22 km from Nîmes, late first century B.C.). The Cathedral of St. Castor, which has a Romanesque facade and narthex, has a tower dating from the 11th to 15th centuries. To the south of Nîmes is located the residential complex Clos d’Orville (1964, G. Candilis).

REFERENCE

Vieilleville, J. Nîmes, vingt siècles d’histoire. Nîmes, 1941.
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