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Culture, communication and science

Cité épiscopale d’Albi

Education, science and culture form UNESCO’s foundation. There is no greater backdrop for these pursuits than the world heritage sites.

The Episcopal city provides the décor for festivals, concerts and gatherings. The number of spectators, growing constantly, bears witness to the extent to which Albi’s Episcopal city, as an impressive backdrop, is today at the heart of a new dynamic in the living and visual arts.

The dialogue between cultural heritage and the arts is omnipresent, be it in the discovery of the Toulouse-Lautrec’s posters, in the powerful décor of the Berbie palace or in the organ concerts in the Cathedral of Sainte-Cécile, under its painted vault which in 2009 celebrated its 500th anniversary during France’s national celebrations.

Albi Cathedral’s influence on the work of the American architect Louis Kahn (1901 – 1974), considered one of the 20th century’s greatest architects, bears witness to the site’s power and potential to feed innovation. The Episcopal city is already the object of much scientific research, of both a technical and historical nature, making it a remarkable site for the transmission of knowledge, learning and research. For example, recent works such as ’Heresy and the inquisition in the South of France’ by Jean-Louis Biget, awarded the 2008 Goyau prize by the Academie Française, or ’The Obituaries of the Cathedral Chapter’ by Matthieu Desachy, curator of Albi’s municipal library, winner of the silver medal of the Académie des Jeux floraux, which allows the reader to learn about the Episcopal city’s historic and artistic context.

The Episcopal city also feeds research on the subject of earth as a building material, such as that undertaken by the Ecole des mines de Paris and the Ecole des mines d’Albi-Carmaux, as well as inspiring numerous publications on the theme of the colour of the bricks or the Cathedral’s paintings. Finally, the Episcopal city regularly inspires works such as ’The biography of my town’ by Jean Roques or the recent collection of water colours by Philippe Lhez.

The classification of the Episcopal city as a world heritage site has given it a universal dimension to which the town intends to respond through a multi-faceted approach to its heritage:

  • an educational approach, contributing to individual development by encouraging sensitivity to our cultural surroundings
  • a scientific approach, through continuous research contributing to the understanding, protection and promotion of heritage
  • a cultural approach, which, through the interaction of different artistic disciplines and this symbol of cultural heritage, contributes to the promotion of universal values.

It is in spirit that Albi has joined the network of Villes et Pays d’arts et d’histoire (towns and lands of art and history) and created a UNESCO club, active in all the town’s teaching establishments, from pre-school through to university, where the development of new teaching tools will allow everyone to situate themselves in the collective memory.

Beyond this, a commitment to the sustainable management of the site has led to the introduction of innovative ways of involving the population and sensitizing them to the contributions of science to the conservation of their heritage.

It is through this work to nurture Albi’s eco-citizens that the conservation of the site is guaranteed for future generations.

The town encourages, promotes and accompanies all educational, scientific or cultural initiatives which have the world heritage site either as object or backdrop.

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