liens evitement

Réduire le texte Agrandir le texte Imprimer la page

What makes Albi unique?

Cité épiscopale d’Albi

To obtain the status of UNESCO world heritage site, each proposed site must present an Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) and satisfy at least two of ten selection criteria established by the World Heritage Committee. The ten criteria are clearly defined and include authenticity and integrity but while these are indispensable they alone do not suffice.

In addition, the committee judged the Episcopal city of Albi as fulfilling criteria IV and V thus obtaining 4 out of the 10 possible criteria.

Studies by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) demonstrated that whilst other Episcopal cities exist, Albi is original in the fact that its urban plan was so intrinsically linked to the pre-eminence. From the 12th century the Bishops were spiritual and secular lords of the town, whilst in nearby Toulouse, for example, this was not the case.

The most visible mark of the Epsicopal influence on Albi is in the Southern Gothic architecture, of which the Cathedral of Sainte-Cécile provides a beautiful example. The Cathedral bears little relation to the more ‘classic’ French Cathedrals of Chartres, Reims or Amiens, all of which also benefit from World Heritage status.

The Berbie palace, dating in parts from the 12th century, is likewise atypical being constructed in brick rather than the more usual stone of traditional fortifications in this era. The palace’s mass of masonry represent a ‘passive’ defensive stance in contrast to the ‘active’ defence strategy of stone fortifications in which the artistry of the Kings engineers was turned to ‘maltreating’ attackers.

Fired bricks (known as ‘brique foraine’) were the material of choice throughout the Episcopal city. The city’s state of preservation, its homogeneity and the preservation of a certain Mediaeval aspect, in contrast to many other towns, all played a role in the classification. authenticity and integrity

“(...) The authenticity of the urban real estate, of a significant number of Mediaeval and Renaissance buildings and of most of the monuments is satisfactory thanks to an appropriate conservation. There is a great visual coherence due to the chromatic nuances of the fired bricks used throughout (the) history (of the town) and still employed today.”

Criterion IV**

“The historic city of Albi presents an eminent Mediaeval architectural and urban whole. The city is homogeneous, presenting a high quality urban townscape enhanced by a visual coherence thanks to the generalised and enduring use of fired bricks both historically and in the present day.”

Criterion V***

“The historical city of Albi has been progressively constituted over time, notably since the Middle Ages. The events of the Albigensian crusade transformed the emblematic Episcopal city structured around the Cathedral and palace fort. The city is rare in its completeness and state of conservation. The city is characteristic of European mediaeval and Renaissance urban development. ”

Menu | Top