Verdun Cathedral is a Roman Catholic cathedral, and national monument of France. In about 330, Saint Saintin (or Sainctinus) evangelised the city of Verdun, became its first bishop and founded a church dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul. In 457 Saint Pulchronius (or Pulchrone), a later bishop, had a cathedral built inside the walls of a ruined Roman building, on the present site.
Several buildings were erected and destroyed on this site, until in 990 Bishop Heimon ordered the construction of a new cathedral on the Romano-Rhenish plan: a nave, two transepts, two opposing apses, each one flanked by two belltowers.
In the 12th century the architect Garin built the east choir, the two portals of Saint John and of the Lion, and the crypts. The building was consecrated by Pope Eugene III in 1147. The cloister seems also to have been built at about this time, close to a ravine.
In the 14th century the cathedral was refurbished in the Renaissance style; the flat wooden ceiling was replaced by a vaulted one, the windows were enlarged, and the interior was decorated with frescos. The first rood screen was constructed and spires were added to the towers. Gothic side-chapels were added to either side of the lower end of the nave; the last side-chapel, dedicated to the Assumption, was built between 1522 and 1530. At about the same time the cloister was entirely rebuilt in the Flamboyant style, of which it is a spectacular example.
On 2 April 1755, the roof and towers were set on fire by a bolt of lightning; the spires were never replaced. The cathedral was badly damaged, and from 1760 was overhauled in the Neo-Classical style, of which the principal works are the refurbished nave, the east tower, the organs, and especially the magnificent Rococo baldacchino.
The cathedral was severely damaged during World War I between 1916 and 1917; the eastern block was totally destroyed, and the towers have never been rebuilt. During the restoration that took place between 1920 and 1936 a number of Romanesque features were re-discovered, as well as the crypt. The cathedral was re-inaugurated in 1935. In July 1946 the cathedral was visited by Mgr Roncalli, the future Pope John XXIII.References:
Roman Walls of Lugo are an exceptional architectural, archaeological and constructive legacy of Roman engineering, dating from the 3rd and 4th centuries AD. The Walls are built of internal and external stone facings of slate with some granite, with a core filling of a conglomerate of slate slabs and worked stone pieces from Roman buildings, interlocked with lime mortar.
Their total length of 2117 m in the shape of an oblong rectangle occupies an area of 1.68 ha. Their height varies between 8 and 10 m, with a width of 4.2 m, reaching 7 m in some specific points. The walls still contain 85 external towers, 10 gates (five of which are original and five that were opened in modern times), four staircases and two ramps providing access to the walkway along the top of the walls, one of which is internal and the other external. Each tower contained access stairs leading from the intervallum to the wall walk of town wall, of which a total of 21 have been discovered to date.
The defences of Lugo are the most complete and best preserved example of Roman military architecture in the Western Roman Empire.
Despite the renovation work carried out, the walls conserve their original layout and the construction features associated with their defensive purpose, with walls, battlements, towers, fortifications, both modern and original gates and stairways, and a moat.
Since they were built, the walls have defined the layout and growth of the city, which was declared a Historical-Artistic Ensemble in 1973, forming a part of it and becoming an emblematic structure that can be freely accessed to walk along. The local inhabitants and visitors alike have used them as an area for enjoyment and as a part of urban life for centuries.
The fortifications were added to UNESCO"s World Heritage List in late 2000 and are a popular tourist attraction.