The Cité de Carcassonne is a fortified medieval city within the French city of Carcassonne. There are two sets of walls enclosing the Cité. The inner one which dominates the picture here, and the outer outer one that you can see parts of on the left. The walls were originally built in the Roman era, and part of that remains , but for the most part they date from the 13th century. The Château is a 12th century count’s castle. You can see its square towerstowards the back as you follow the wall.
This photo below shows the fortified city with its walls on a hill within the larger city. (The towers with orange tiles on the roof are the Gallo-Roman towers.)
“Cité de Carcassonne” from Wikipedia
As you might imagine from the building of walls and castle, Carcassonne was the site of much fighting at times:
After the Romans arrived in Gaul the settlement fell under their jurisdiction as an important Roman outpost or Colonia known as Carcasum. For centuries, Carcasum enjoyed a relatively peaceful and prosperous existence until the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century. In 453, after months of fighting the Romans finally lost Carcassonne to the Visigothic king Theodoric II, who subsequently fought-off attacks from the Franks in 508. However, in 725 the Saracens took Carcassonne from the Visigoths, who were driven out of Western Europe in the 8th century. Saracen control of Carcassonne was relatively short lived, however, as the French King Pépin le Bref recaptured the city in 760.
Cellar Tours (it had the best summary).
Then there’s a few centuries of realtive peace.
In August 1209 the crusading army of the Papal Legate, Abbot Arnaud Amalric, forced its citizens to surrender. Viscount Raymond-Roger de Trencavel was imprisoned whilst negotiating his city’s surrender and died in mysterious circumstances three months later in his own dungeon. The people of Carcassonne were allowed to leave – in effect, expelled from their city with nothing more than the shirt on their backs. Simon De Montfort was appointed the new viscount. He added to the fortifications.
In 1240, Trencavel’s son tried to reconquer his old domain, but in vain. The city submitted to the rule of the kingdom of France in 1247. Carcassonne became a border fortress between France and the Crown of Aragon under the Treaty of Corbeil (1258). King Louis IX founded the new part of the town across the river. He and his successor Philip III built the outer ramparts. Contemporary opinion still considered the fortress impregnable. During the Hundred Years’ War, Edward the Black Prince failed to take the city in 1355, although his troops destroyed the Lower Town.
Then some more centuries of peace. The walls collapsed. Then in the mid-19th century the government decided the walls had to go. A campaign was launched and in 1853 a large, long project commenced to restore the city structurally and enhanced its Medieval-aspects. It also involved destroying an adjoining structures that didn’t fit the vision, throwing people out of their homes and roofing the towers in a material and style copied from the north of France.
The Wall City of Carcassonne is an interesting website about the history of the city, the restoration and the people who lived there (there’s a link to the English version near the top of the page).
Château et Remparts de la Cité de Carcassonne (Centre des Monuments Nationaux) is aimed at visitors but it has a nice self-guided tour brochure that details the