Carcassonne (/ˌkɑːrkəˈsɒn/,[3][4] also US: /-ˈsɔːn, -ˈsn/,[5] French: [kaʁkasɔn] (listen), locally [kaχkaˈsɔnə]; Occitan: Carcassona [kaɾkaˈsunɔ]; Latin: Carcaso) is a French fortified city in the department of Aude, in the region of Occitanie. It is the prefecture of the department.

Carcassona (Occitan)
Aerial photograph of the Cité de Carcassonne
Location of Carcassonne
Coordinates: 43°13′N 2°21′E
CantonCarcassonne-1, 2 and 3
IntercommunalityCarcassonne Agglo
  Mayor (20202026) Gérard Larrat[1] (DVD)
65.08 km2 (25.13 sq mi)
 (Jan. 2019)[2]
  Density720/km2 (1,900/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
11069 /11000
Elevation81–250 m (266–820 ft)
(avg. 111 m or 364 ft)
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Inhabited since the Neolithic, Carcassonne is located in the plain of the Aude between historic trade routes, linking the Atlantic to the Mediterranean Sea and the Massif Central to the Pyrénées. Its strategic importance was quickly recognized by the Romans, who occupied its hilltop until the demise of the Western Roman Empire. In the fifth century, it was taken over by the Visigoths, who founded the city. Within three centuries, it briefly came under Islamic rule.[citation needed] Its strategic location led successive rulers to expand its fortifications until the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659.[citation needed]

Its citadel, known as the Cité de Carcassonne, is a medieval fortress dating back to the Gallo-Roman period and restored by the theorist and architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc in 1853. It was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1997 because of the exceptional preservation and restoration of the medieval citadel.[6] Consequently, Carcassonne relies heavily on tourism but also counts manufacturing and winemaking as some of its other key economic sectors.[7]

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