|Carcassonne (Carcassona in Occitan) is a fortified French town, in the Aude department. |
It is separated into the fortified Cité de Carcassonne and the more expansive lower city, the ville basse. Fortifications consists of a double ring of ramparts and 53 towers.
The folk etymology, involving a châtelaine named Carcas, a ruse ending a siege and the joyous ringing of bells ("Carcas sonne"), though memorialized in a neo-Gothic sculpture of
Mme Carcas on a column near the Narbonne Gate, is of modern invention.
After a total decay in the XVII and XVIIIth centuries, the city save salved and rebuilt by Viollet-le-Duc in the end of XIXth century.
A huge controversy was running for years against this work but it is now admitted that the Violet-le-Duc has done something which was the most realistic according to the original building.
The fortress was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997.