Wednesday, 25 February 2015
Medieval City of Carcassonne
Carcassonne: An Ideal Setting For Passionate Medieval Tales
The Medieval city of Carcassonne in France has an extraordinary system of ramparts surrounding its castle and houses. At the beginning of the 19th century, the city was a fortress with half-ruined walls, perched on a steep isolated hill, but before that it was a pre Roman fortified settlement. It was only in the second half of the 19th century that it benefited from one of the most extensive restoration projects ever attempted.
From 1846 to 1852, the architect, Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, carried out what only could be called exceptional work, which involved
'taking advantage of all of the material traces visible in the masonry which could shed light on the structure.'
The impressive fortifications are composed of two enclosures and a twelth century castle, itself surrounded by fortifications. These fortifications extend over a total length of a mile and a half. The city, which these walls protect have over fifty towers, and the homes within are still inhabited. Once the centre of the power of the Kings of France it was under the successive reigns of Louis IX, Philip the Bold and Philip the Fair that it became what we see today. There are two main entrances to the city, the Narbonne Gate on the east façade and the Aude Gate on the west façade.
It has been said about Carcassonne that the 'dreamlike atmosphere' makes it an ideal setting for passionate medieval tales.
Carcassonne was listed as a World Heritage site by Unesco in 1997.