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Carcassonne


Basic Info


Name: Carcassone
Location: Languedor, Aude
Country: Southern France

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Content


Carcasssone in southern France is located on a strategic site overlooking the main road between the city of Toulouse and the Mediterranean Sea. The old city of Carcasssone was built by the Romans and was occupied by the Visigoths in the fifth century. Carcassone was ruled by the Trencaval family, early in the thirteenth century, the city was conquered by northern French forces.

The famous walls of the Old City contain survivals from all these periods. The walled town of Carcassone is roughly rectangular in shape, up to 525 meters long and 250 m wide. It is surrounded by its medieval double enclosure wall; the inner curtain is 1245 m in length, with 29 towers, while the outer has 18 towers and is 1320 m long.

The inner wall, started by the Visigoths and Roman foundation and added to by King Louis IX of France and his successors, has twenty nine rounded towers. Within the inner wall is the caste built by the Trecavels in the twelfth century. The outer wall, which was built by Louis IX in the 1240s. contains seventeen towers and barbicans. Most of the outer towers were built with open sides facing the inner walls so that if taken the towers could not provide protection for the attackers.

In the 12th century the building was described as a palace but it was transformed into a genuine fortress when the earliest enclosure wall was consolidated and the second rampart built. Three curtain walls were built to the south, east and north of the palace, proceeded by a mote and flanked by six round towers with the same characteristics as those of the outer wall, battered bases, superimposed, rib-vaulted chambers and stirrup-shaped loop holes. There were provision for hoardings at the tops of the towers and curtain walls and a bridge preceded by a barbican defended the access to the castle. The defenses were directed against the city to resist uprisings against the new royal administration.

The walls were restored by the Franck architect Viollet-le-Duc in the mid-nineteenth century


Visitor Accounts


Nidia, 19, from NY, wrote:
I visited my cousins in France this summer and they took me to Carcassone for a day. It was beautiful. You could get lost in all the winding streets and mesmerized by this huge castle! There are so many little shops and cafes. The tour was great even though my cousin convinced me to take the French one and she had to translate for me every minute! They show you around most of the outer walls and the theatre. It's amazing how you can walk back in time. If you ever have a chance to go there, you won't regret it!