Carcassonne In France
This is a scroll shaped, brass coloured, metal fridge magnet souvenir depicting Carcassonne in France. Carcassonne is a fortified French town in the Aude department. It is divided into the fortified Cite de Carcassonne and the more expansive lower city, the ville basse. Carcassone was founded by the Visigoths in the fifth century, though the Romans had fortified the settlement earlier. The fortress, which was thoroughly restored in 1853 by the theorist and architect Eugene Viollet-le-Duc, was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997. Carcassonne became strategically identified when Romans fortified the hilltop around 100 BC. The main part of the lower courses of the northern ramparts dates from Gallo-Roman times. In 462 the Romans officially ceded Septimania to the Visigothic king Theodoric II who had held Carcassonne since 453; he built more fortifications at Carcassonne, which was a frontier post on the northern marches: traces of them still stand. Theodoric is thought to have begun the predecessor of the basilica that is now dedicated to Saint Nazaire. In 508 the Visigoths successfully foiled attacks by the Frankish king Clovis. Saracens from Barcelona took Carcassonne in 725, but King Pepin the Short (Pepin le Bref) drove them away in 759-60; though he took most of the south of France, he was unable to penetrate the impregnable fortress of Carcassonne.
County of Carcassonne
A medieval fiefdom, the county of Carcassonne, controlled the city and its environs. It was often united with the County of Razes. The origins of Carcassonne as a county probably lie in local representatives of the Visigoths, but the first count known by name is Bello of the time of Charlemagne. Bello founded a dynasty, the Bellonids, which would rule many honores in Septimania and Catalonia for three centuries. In 1067, Carcassonne became the property of Raimond Bernard Trencavel, viscount of Albi and Nimes, through his marriage with Ermengard, sister of the last count of Carcassonne. In the following centuries, the Trencavel family allied in succession either with the counts of Barcelona or of Toulouse. They built the Chateau Comtal and the Basilica of Saint-Nazaire. In 1096, Pope Urban II blessed the foundation stones of the new cathedral, a Catholic bastion against the Cathars. Carcassonne became famous in its role in the Albigensian Crusades, when the city was a stronghold of Occitan Cathars. In August 1209 the crusading army of Simon de Montfort forced its citizens to surrender. Raymond-Roger de Trencavel was imprisoned whilst negotiating his city's surrender, held in his own dungeon, and allowed to die. Montfort was appointed the new viscount. He added to the fortifications. Carcassonne became a border citadel between France and the kingdom of Aragon (Spain).