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Uzes

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Uzes

Uzès
Saint-Théodorit cathedral and its Fenestrelle Tower

Coat of arms
Uzès
Uzès

Coordinates: 44°00′47″N 4°25′14″E / 44.013°N 4.4205°E / 44.013; 4.4205Coordinates: 44°00′47″N 4°25′14″E / 44.013°N 4.4205°E / 44.013; 4.4205

Country France
Region Languedoc-Roussillon
Department Gard
Arrondissement Nîmes
Canton Uzès
Intercommunality Uzège
Government
 • Mayor (2008–2014) Jean-Luc Chapon
Area
 • Land1 25.41 km2 (9.81 sq mi)
Population (2008)
 • Population2 8,213
 • Population2 density 320/km2 (840/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 30334 / 30700
Elevation 49–274 m (161–899 ft)
(avg. 167 m or 548 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Uzès (Occitan: Usès) is a commune in the Gard department in southern France.

It lies about 25 km north-northeast of Nîmes.


History

Originally Ucetia, Uzès was a small Gallo-Roman oppidum, or administrative settlement. The town lies at the source of the Eure, from where a Roman aqueduct was built in the first century BC, to supply water to the local city of Nîmes, 25 km away. The most famous stretch of the aqueduct is the Pont du Gard, which carried fresh water over splendid arches across the river Gardon.

The civilized and tolerant urban life of 5th-century Uzès contrasted with the Frankish north. Jews were settled there as early as the 5th century. Saint Ferréol, Bishop of Uzès, admitted them to his table and enjoyed their friendship. On this account complaint was made of him to King Childebert I, whereupon the bishop was obliged to change his attitude toward the Jews, compelling all those who would not become Christians to leave Uzès. After his death (581) many who had received baptism returned to Judaism.[1]

In the 13th century, Uzès hosted a small community of Jewish scholars, as well as a community of Cathars.

Like many cloth-manufacturing centers (Uzès was known for its serges), the city and the surrounding countryside were strongly Protestant during the Wars of Religion in the 16th century, which wreaked havoc in Languedoc. Numerous of the city's churches were trashed and burned by furious Protestants: only two remain today.

The dukes of Uzès

The title of duke of Uzès, in the family de Crussol d'Uzès, is the premier title in the peerage of France, coming right after the princes of the blood. The title of seigneur d'Uzès is attested in a charter of 1088. After part of Languedoc was attached to royal demesne (1229), the lords' (and later dukes') military skill and fealty to the Crown propelled their rise through the nobility, until, after the treason of the last Duke of Montmorency, beheaded in 1632, the title of First Duke of France fell to Uzès, who retain their stronghold in the center of town today, which has expanded round the 11th century Tour Bermond. If France were a kingdom, it would be the job of the duke of Uzès to cry out, "Le Roi est mort. Vive le Roi!" at each state funeral, and defend the honor of the queen mother. Twenty-one dukes have been wounded or killed as hereditary Champion of France over the centuries.

Sights

The present-day city retains the trace of its walls as a circuit of boulevards. A Capuchin chapel, built in 1635 to house the mortal remains of the dukes, occupies the site of a 1st-century AD temple dedicated to the first Roman Emperor, Augustus. There are monuments of the prestige of the former bishopric, once one of the most extensive of Languedoc, but extinguished at the Revolution, and private houses that witness the wealth that the textile trade brought in the 16th century. The town is also homes to three feudal towers, the Bermonde Tower (part of the château du Duché), the Bishop Tower and the Royal Tower.

The Cathedral was destroyed in the Albigensian Crusade, rebuilt, and destroyed again in the 16th century Wars of Religion. Rebuilt again in the 17th century, it was stripped out during the French Revolution. The 11th century Romanesque Tour Fenestrelle ("Window Tower"), with its paired windows, is probably the most famous icon of the city.

Uzes is famous in the area for its Saturday market as not only does it sell local produce but it also sells cloths of the region as well as plenty of tourist delights.[2]

Population

Historical population of Uzès
Year 1793180018061821183118361841184618511856
Population 6150635062875684616268567274721569346333
Year 1861186618721876188118861891189619011906
Population 6242589555745585544951464989481948895182
Year 1911192119261931193619461954196219681975
Population 4804409844564212403346675222564968517078
Year 1982199019992008
Population 7525764980078213

Personalities

Uzès was the birthplace of:

See also

References

  • INSEE
  • public domain: 

External links

  • Official website (French)
  • Tourist office website
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