Global Treasures AIGUES - MORTES France
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One of the most well preserved medieval fortifications in Europe surrounds the small town of Aigues-Mortes, along the western periphery of the Camargue in the south of France. In the 13th century, King Louis The Ninth was in search of a suitable location for a harbor on the Mediterranean that would serve both trade and military purposes. The Aigues-Mortes region was far from ideal, as it was a swampland on which it was almost impossible to build, however, the orders of the King had to obeyed!
The 1700 metre long town wall consists of ten gates and five defensive towers, a true masterpiece of mediaeval architecture.
King Louis The Ninth and his army embarked from Aigues-Mortes to conquer the Holy Land for Christianity and in 1246, two years before the king’s crusade to Egypt, the town’s inhabitants began to prepare the machinery of war for this great adventure. However, the crusade was unsuccessful, the king having been taken prisoner. Even so, this was not to be his final military expedition and following his liberation and return to France, he was encouraged to mount a new crusade in 1270, one which he did not survive. The harbor also suffered a terrible fate: it silted up! Thus the town’s inhabitants experienced a difficult period in their history.
But thanks to its splendid town wall, Aigues-Mortes still manages to capture the atmosphere of the Middle Ages.
Global Treasures - History''s Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa''s Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world''s heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments.