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DISCOVER CARCASSONNE

Carcassonne is a fortified medieval walled city in southwestern France. This unique city with two UNESCO World Heritage sites is imbued with the spirit of the past and embraces the future.

The medieval city heritage of Unesco

Situated on the right bank of a river, the Medieval City is a fortified city unlike any other in Europe, on account of its size and its state of preservation. Its history is marked by 2000 years of conquest and by the imprint of Catharism and the Crusades.

cité carcassonne 1Cité Carcassonne 2

 

City history

blason carcassonneThe oldest traces of man - 6th century B.C.- were found on the promontory where the Cité lies.
In 122 B.C., the Romans conquered the Provence and the Languedoc. They fortified the oppidum which took the name of Carcaso.
After the death of Charlemagne, the dismembering of the Empire gave birth to the feudal system. It was under the dynasty of the Trencavels, from 1082 to 1209, that the town began to gain tremendous influence.
During this prosperous period, Catharism grew rapidly. Raymond Roger Trencavel, vicomte of Carcassonne (1194-1209) both tolerated and protected the heretics on his own lands. He suffered the first impact of the crusade preached by Pope Innocent III and on August 15th, 1209, after a two-week siege, it was all over. The Cité and the lands of Trencavel were first handed to the military commander of the crusade, Simon de Montfort, then to the King of France in 1224. It takes its present appearance with a new town born in 1262 on the left bank.

 

An oral legend to a name

Dame CarcaThe legend takes place in the 8th century, during the wars between Christians and Muslims in the southwest of Europe. At the time, Carcassonne was under Saracen rule and Charlemagne's army was at the gates to reconquer the city for the Franks. A Saracen princess named Carcas ruled the Knights of the City after the death of her husband.
The siege lasted for five years. Early in the sixth year, food and water were running out. Lady Carcas made an inventory of all remaining reserves. The villagers brought her a pig and a sack of wheat. She then had the idea to feed the wheat to the pig and then throw it from the highest tower of the city walls.
Charlemagne lifted the siege, believing that the city had enough food to the point of wasting pigs fed with wheat. Overjoyed by the success of her plan, Lady Carcas decided to sound all the bells in the city. One of Charlemagne's men then exclaimed: "Carcas sonne!" (which means “Carcas sounds”). Hence the name of the city.

 

More information: www.tourism-carcassonne.co.uk

Video: youtu.be/jt8f0Zz1bQM