Ancient Roman sites

Montmaurin Gallo-Roman Villa

The Gallo-Roman villa of Montmaurin dates from the first centuryies AD. The most ancient part, the residential section, now open to the public, dates from the 1st century. It was extended and enhanced in the 4th century then remained occupied until the early 6th century. The area where the accommodation and farming outbuildings (forges, brick and tile production, weaving, etc.) stood stretched to the southeast of the bat ...
Founded: 1st century AD | Location: Montmaurin, France

Las Cuevas de Soria Roman Villa

Roman Villa of La Dehesa was used as an agricultural plantation in the 4th century. It has been Heritage of Cultural Interest in the category of Archaeological Sites since 1931. There you can visit a museum and the site to learn more about the family who lived here.
Founded: 4th century AD | Location: Las Cuevas de Soria, Spain

Nesactium

Nesactium was an ancient fortified town and hill fort of the Histri tribe. In pre-Roman times, Nesactium, ruled by its legendary king Epulon, was the capital of the tribal population of the peninsula called Histri, who were also connected to the prehistoric Castellieri culture. Some theories state a later Celtic influence, but who they were and where they came from has never been discovered for certain. It is believed tha ...
Founded: 9th century BCE | Location: Ližnjan, Croatia

Lorun

Lorun is an Antiquity archaeological site located next to the planned built tourist resort of Červar Porta. The remains of a Roman country villa, an estate consisting of the ceramics workshop, an oil mill and a water cistern were found, while the oldest villa doors coincide with the year 46 BC, the time of the establishment of the Poreč colony under the Caesar. Sisenna Statilie Tauro, a Roman consul for as many as 16 ye ...
Founded: 46 BCE | Location: Červar-porat, Croatia

Lacipo

Lacipo was founded in the second century BC for the local population. It grew considerably and its economic strength was based on olive oil. The town was a seat of government for the immediate area until it declined in the second century AD. The largest remain structure that can be seen today is a south facing section of town wall standing 30 feet high. Lacipo"s ruins don"t offer the traveler who can be bothered ...
Founded: 2nd century BCE | Location: Casares, Spain

Varignano Roman Villa

Varignano Roman Villa is an ancient Roman residence in Varignano, now a frazione of the town of Porto Venere. Its site is marked by an archaeological museum. Its first construction phase dates to the 1st century BCE and it mainly consisted of a house surrounded by a farm linked to olive oil production. The site is beside the Seno del Varignano Vecchio, overlooking the sea, near the santuario delle Grazie and, to the nort ...
Founded: 1st century BCE | Location: Porto Venere, Italy

Bribir

In the Roman period, the town (municipium) of Varvaria was created in the 1st century AD at the hill of Bribir (Bribirska glavica), which is now an archaeological site. Up until the Roman conquest, the Liburnians had inhabited the region, giving their name to the Roman province of Liburnia. Pliny the Elder mentioned Varvarini as one of 14 municipalities under the jurisdiction of Scardona (Skradin). In the Migra ...
Founded: 1st century AD | Location: Skradin, Croatia

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Quimper Cathedral

From 1239, Raynaud, the Bishop of Quimper, decided on the building of a new chancel destined to replace that of the Romanesque era. He therefore started, in the far west, the construction of a great Gothic cathedral which would inspire cathedral reconstructions in the Ile de France and would in turn become a place of experimentation from where would later appear ideas adopted by the whole of lower Brittany. The date of 1239 marks the Bishop’s decision and does not imply an immediate start to construction. Observation of the pillar profiles, their bases, the canopies, the fitting of the ribbed vaults of the ambulatory or the alignment of the bays leads us to believe, however, that the construction was spread out over time.

The four circular pillars mark the start of the building site, but the four following adopt a lozenge-shaped layout which could indicate a change of project manager. The clumsiness of the vaulted archways of the north ambulatory, the start of the ribbed vaults at the height of the south ambulatory or the choice of the vaults descending in spoke-form from the semi-circle which allows the connection of the axis chapel to the choir – despite the manifest problems of alignment – conveys the hesitancy and diverse influences in the first phase of works which spread out until the start of the 14th century.

At the same time as this facade was built (to which were added the north and south gates) the building of the nave started in the east and would finish by 1460. The nave is made up of six bays with one at the level of the facade towers and flanked by double aisles – one wide and one narrow (split into side chapels) – in an extension of the choir arrangements.

The choir presents four right-hand bays with ambulatory and side chapels. It is extended towards the east of 3-sided chevet which opens onto a semi-circle composed of five chapels and an apsidal chapel of two bays and a flat chevet consecrated to Our Lady.

The three-level elevation with arches, triforium and galleries seems more uniform and expresses anglo-Norman influence in the thickness of the walls (Norman passageway at the gallery level) or the decorative style (heavy mouldings, decorative frieze under the triforium). This building site would have to have been overseen in one shot. Undoubtedly interrupted by the war of Succession (1341-1364) it draws to a close with the building of the lierne vaults (1410) and the fitting of stained-glass windows. Bishop Bertrand de Rosmadec and Duke Jean V, whose coat of arms would decorate these vaults, finished the chancel before starting on the building of the facade and the nave.

Isolated from its environment in the 19th century, the cathedral was – on the contrary – originally very linked to its surroundings. Its site and the orientation of the facade determined traffic flow in the town. Its positioning close to the south walls resulted in particuliarities such as the transfer of the side gates on to the north and south facades of the towers: the southern portal of Saint Catherine served the bishop’s gate and the hospital located on the left bank (the current Préfecture) and the north gate was the baptismal porch – a true parish porch with its benches and alcoves for the Apostles’ statues turned towards the town, completed by an ossuary (1514).

The west porch finds its natural place between the two towers. The entire aesthetic of these three gates springs from the Flamboyant era: trefoil, curly kale, finials, large gables which cut into the mouldings and balustrades. Pinnacles and recesses embellish the buttresses whilst an entire bestiary appears: monsters, dogs, mysterious figures, gargoyles, and with them a whole imaginary world promoting a religious and political programme. Even though most of the saints statues have disappeared an armorial survives which makes the doors of the cathedral one of the most beautiful heraldic pages imaginable: ducal ermine, the Montfort lion, Duchess Jeanne of France’s coat of arms side by side with the arms of the Cornouaille barons with their helmets and crests. One can imagine the impact of this sculpted decor with the colour and gilding which originally completed it.

At the start of the 16th century the construction of the spires was being prepared when building was interrupted, undoubtedly for financial reasons. Small conical roofs were therefore placed on top of the towers. The following centuries were essentially devoted to putting furnishings in place (funeral monuments, altars, statues, organs, pulpit). Note the fire which destroyed the spire of the transept cross in 1620 as well as the ransacking of the cathedral in 1793 when nearly all the furnishings disappeared in a « bonfire of the saints ».

The 19th century would therefore inherit an almost finished but mutilated building and would devote itself to its renovation according to the tastes and theories of the day.