The Island Of Cité

The Island Of Cité

In each city, whether small town or a metropolis, is the center of attraction, center not so much geographically, but the cultural, historical and whatever. Paris is one of those few cities in which these centers of gravity, which has every reason to claim the title of “city centre”, several. Than, say, the Louvre or the Eiffel tower did not deserve such a title? But there is in Paris a place that is the true heart of the capital of France, the point from which started the history of this amazing city – the island of cité.

“Where did the French land. ”

Island of the cité is the historical heart of Paris, this plot of land, surrounded by river Seine, the original size, according to various estimates, from 8 to 10 hectares, started the construction of the city. Written sources indicate that it was on this island already in the III century BC there was a small settlement of local Gallic (Celtic) tribe) parisii (it is from this name in IV century ad and the present name derives from the French capital). However, not yet found archaeological evidence of the presence of pre-Roman settlement, but most scientists still think it is shite is the oldest inhabited part of Paris. Be that as it may, in the course the conquest of Gaul Gaius Julius Caesar in 52 BC, the cité was occupied by the Roman army. The Romans quickly appreciated the advantageous strategic position of the island: strengthening it, can be controlled the nearby crossings over the Seine. The cité was founded the Roman city called Lutetia, which gradually outgrew the dimensions of the island and spread to both banks of the river. The next important stage in the history of the cité is a VI century of our era, when the leader of the Germanic tribe of the francs, Clovis, conquered the former Roman province of Gaul, moved his residence to Paris, then called Lutetia. In the middle of the same century on the island was erected the first Christian Church of Paris (built on the site of a Roman pagan temple), St. Stephen’s Basilica. But the real construction boom here began in the XI century, when the island was erected the Royal Palace, which became the basis for the future Palace of Justice. At the end of the XVI century to shite with the help of architectural and construction works were “attached” two smaller neighboring Islands, which were used, particularly for grazing livestock, and the island reached its present area of 17 hectares.

Although the main Museum of Paris and all of France is Louvre, cité also has something to boast of in terms of attractions. It is no exaggeration to say that cité is a true island-Museum, as there are buildings, known throughout the world and are a delicacy for tourists visiting the French capital. The island itself is divided into two parts by the Boulevard du Palais, which forms the border between the first and fourth districts of Paris. With “mainland” areas of the city and the island of Saint-Louis de La cite is connected by nine bridges, the most famous and the oldest surviving is the New bridge, whose construction began in 1578 and was completed 30 years later.

However, the main gems of the island of cité are located directly on site and, of course, in the first place the question always comes about the famous Notre Dame Cathedral. Notre Dame, like other monuments of shite deserve each a detailed story, so let’s confine ourselves to General information. The main Church of Paris was built over two hundred years, from the twelfth to late fourteenth century, although the main works were completed in the second half of the thirteenth century and then in the Cathedral began service. Notre Dame is considered one of the masterpieces of Gothic architecture, and after the novel by Victor Hugo, it has become one of the symbols of France (great writer, by the way, played a significant role in the Cathedral restoration in the nineteenth century). Another Gothic masterpiece is rightly considered to be located next to the Notre Dame chapel of the Sainte Chapelle (“Holy Chapel”). Despite its modest size, 11 meters wide and 35 meters in length, the Sainte-Chapelle, built in the XIII century for the storage of imported Byzantine relics, is one of the most famous Gothic chapels in the world due to magnificent architectural decorations and unique stained glass Windows. Sainte-Chapelle is part of a large-scale architectural complex of the Palace of Justice, which until the XV century was the first Royal Palace on the Isle de La cité, and after moving the Royal court to another residence was the seat of the highest judicial bodies of the country. Part of the former Royal castle was converted into a prison, which later expanded and was called the Conciergerie. Also the visitors of the cité will find the famous place Dauphine, built in the early XVII century by Henry IV, later, especially from the late nineteenth century, became one of the centers of cultural life of Paris – here are exhibited paintings and works of art by emerging artists.

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