May 13, 2016

2546 FRANCE (Occitania) -The Historical Wonders of Gard Department

Located in southern France, with a narrow output to the Mediterranean, Gard department was named after the River Gardon, and the Occitan name of the river has been replacing the French name of the department in recent decades, even among French speakers. It does have distinctly Languedoc qualities, such as the high number of historical sites, the bull fights at Nimes, and its dramatic landscapes. In fact, it's in the Gard that the move away from the Mediterranean into a more continental, mountainous landscape begins.

The area was settled by the Romans, being crossed by the Via Domitia, constructed in 118 BC. The Maison Carrée (square house) in Nîmes is one of the best preserved Roman temple façades. Dedicated or rededicated (in about 4-7 AD) to Gaius Caesar and Lucius Caesar, grandsons and adopted heirs of Augustus who both died young, it is an example of Vitruvian architecture. Not far is the Arena of Nîmes, a Roman amphitheatre, built around 70 AD, and remodelled in 1863 to serve as a bullring.

Near the town of Vers-Pont-du-Gard is the Pont du Gard (UNESCO WHS), an ancient Roman aqueduct that crosses the Gardon River. It was part of a 50-kilometer aqueduct, built in the first century AD to carry water from a spring at Uzès to the Roman colony of Nemausus (Nîmes). The architecture of the Duke's chateau, named the Duchy is a potted history of France. The Middle-Ages, the Renaissance, the 17th century, and modern times are all there, in the castle built on an Roman castrum.

When was created, during the French Revolution, the Gard department received from Hérault the fishing port of Aigues Mortes which gave the department its own outlet to the Gulf of Lions. Built in the 13th century by Louis IX as a new port for France, Aigues-Mortes has a very large number of sites registered as historical monuments. The Tower of Constance was built in 1242 by Saint-Louis on the former site of the Matafère Tower which was built by Charlemagne around 790 AD to house the king's garrison.

About the stamps
The first stamp is one of the two issued on January 17, 1994 to celebrate the Council of Europe. About the second stamp, issued to mark the 9th centenary of the Battle of Hastings,I wrote here.

The last stamp was issued on March 11, 1967 to mark the 19th International Congress of Railways, which held in Paris in 1966.

Maison Carrée - Wikipedia
Arena of Nîmes - Wikipedia
Dukes of Uzès - Official website
Aigues Mortes - Wikipedia

Sender: Jean-Yves Gerlat
Sent from Montbonnot-Saint-Martin (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes / France), on 23.04.2016   

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