Introduction of Carcassonne
City on the Aude River, 57 mi SE of Toulouse in Aude department. Occupied in the fifth century b.c. by Iberians, it was a Roman hilltop site in the first century b.c. It was fortified by Euric I, king of the Visigoths, in a.d. 485. The city was captured twice in the eighth century and fortified further by the viscounts of Carcassonne in the 12th century. It was captured by Simon de Montfort in 1209 during the Albigensian Crusade against the heretics of the region. On passing to Louis IX of France in 1247, it served as a frontier post that was considered to be impregnable until the border moved S in 1659. The remains of its medieval fortifications, restored by Viollet-le-Duc in the 19th century, are today among the finest in Europe.