Sneha Girap

Auvergne (region)

Country  France
Capital  Clermont-Ferrand
Area  26,013 km2
Population  1.356 million (Jan 1, 2013)
Colleges and Universities  University of Auvergne, Blaise Pascal University
Destinations  Clermont-Ferrand, Vichy, Le Puy-en-Velay, Aurillac, Montlucon
Points of interest  Clermont-Ferrand Cathedral, Basilica of Notre-Dame du Port, Vulcania, Chateau de Murol, Puy de Sancy

Auvergne ( Occitan: ) is one of the 27 administrative regions of France. It comprises the four departments of Allier, Puy de Dome, Cantal and Haute Loire.

Map of Auvergne (region)

The current administrative region of Auvergne is larger than the historical province of Auvergne, and includes provinces and areas that historically were not part of Auvergne. The Auvergne region is composed of the following old provinces:

  • Auvergne: departments of Puy-de-Dome, Cantal, north-west of Haute-Loire, and extreme south of Allier. The province of Auvergne is entirely contained inside the Auvergne region
  • Bourbonnais: department of Allier. A small part of Bourbonnais is also contained inside the Centre region (south of the department of Cher)
  • Velay: centre and southeast of department of Haute-Loire. Velay is entirely contained inside the Auvergne region
  • a small part of Gevaudan: extreme southwest of Haute-Loire. Gevaudan is essentially inside the Languedoc-Roussillon region
  • a small part of Vivarais: extreme southeast of Haute-Loire. Vivarais is essentially inside the Rhone-Alpes region
  • a small part of Forez: extreme northeast of Haute-Loire. Forez is essentially inside the Rhone-Alpes region
  • Velay, Gevaudan, and Vivarais are often considered to be sub-provinces of the old Languedoc province. Forez is also often considered to be a sub-province of Lyonnais province. Therefore, the modern region of Auvergne is composed of the provinces of Auvergne, major part of Bourbonnais, and parts of Languedoc and Lyonnais.

    The region contains many volcanoes, although the last confirmed eruption was around 6,000 years ago. They began forming some 70,000 years ago, and most have eroded away leaving plugs of unerupted hardened magma that form rounded hilltops known as puys.

    Geography

    Auvergne (region) Beautiful Landscapes of Auvergne (region)

    Auvergne has a surface area of 26,013 km² equivalent to 4.8% of Frances total surface area. Auvergne is one of the smallest regions in France.

    Auvergne (region) Beautiful Landscapes of Auvergne (region)

    Auvergne is known for its mountain ranges and dormant volcanoes. Together the Monts Dore and the Chaine des Puys include 80 volcanoes. The Puy de Dome is the tallest volcano in the region with an altitude of 1,465 m. The Sancy Massif in the Monts Dore is the highest point in Auvergne (1,886 m).

    The northern region is covered in hills while the southern portion is mountainous and dotted with pastures. The Domanial Forest of Troncais covers nearly 11,000 hectares (27,170 acres)and is the largest oak forest in Europe.

    There are two major rivers in Auvergne. The Loire, which runs through the southeast and borders the northeast, and the Allier which runs from north to south down the center of Auvergne with branches going east and west. Over many years the Allier river has created what are known as the Allier gorges. Auvergne has about 50 freshwater ponds and lakes. Some are high in the mountains and have volcanic origins. Guery Lake is the highest lake in Auvergne.

    Auvergne is bordered to the east by the Rhone-Alpes region, to the south by the Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrenees regions, to the north by the Centre and Burgundy regions, and to the west by the Limousin region.

    History

    Auvergne (region) in the past, History of Auvergne (region)

    The region of Auvergne was named after the Averni, one of the most powerful gallic tribes. It was composed of the Gabali, the Vellavi, and the Cadurci whose sphere of influence included the regions of Languedoc and Aquitaine. Vercingetorix was granted the title of king in 52 BC. His father, Celtillos, had been elected as a king before him and he had been killed by his companions because he wanted the title to be hereditary. In the winter of 53/52 BC, Vercingetorix managed to enter into an alliance with all the Celtic tribes surrounding him by holding hostages of the king’s daughters or sons of each tribe, which gave him a guarantee for faithfulness and alliance. Following recent digging of archaeologists (radio programme of Yves Calvi with researchers in October 2007), the capital of the Arverni would have been situated between Gergovie, Corent, Aulnat and several other significant areas within 35 km. This gives us an estimation of a population of 150,000 inhabitants living in the centre and a total of more than 400,000 inhabitants living in the whole territory.

    Auvergne (region) in the past, History of Auvergne (region)

    The Arverni were one of the most powerful and rich tribes in the antic Gaul because of:

  • A mountainous area, which protected it from any kind of attack, out of reach of the different invaders (for example the Cebenna described by Caesar)
  • the many mines of gold, silver and precious metals (exploited at least since 400 BC)
  • the pastures on the Uplands in which lords left many herds
  • mastery of metalworking construction and complex craftwork (in Julius Caesar’s book on the Gallic War), Vercingetorix is described with “a big armor made of many assembled silver pieces, reflecting the sun), and in particular copperwork
  • the minting of their own money, and lots of exchanges with nearby tribes
  • ceramic manufacturing mastery of ceramics (workshops in Lezoux etc)
  • their influence on nearby tribes, and the rallying of the Aedui during the revolt of Vercingetorix.

  • One of the shrines of Auvergne is the battle of Gergovia, which would have taken place about 12 km away from Clermont-Ferrand, following the non proven interpretation made of the books of Caesar. Gergovia was the place where Vercingetorix beat Julius Caesar in 52 BC/ before he started chasing Caesar’s troops. Roman victory in Alesia (Alise-sainte-Reine) in Bourgogne, following the setting of several traps and fortifications over several hundreds of metres by the roman legionaries, which led to the emprisonment of Vercingetorix in Rome and to the creation of the city of Augustonemetum (former name of Clermont-Ferrand), probably onto one of the existing Arverni places. Recently, a foot made of stone, measuring 60 cm, has been found from a statue of 4,5 metres high, probably representing a god or roman emperor. In the 5th century, Sidonius Apollinaris, an Arverni nobleman and first bishop of Clermont-Ferrand, gave a testimony about the end of the Antiquity of the Auvergne.

    Economy

    The region is predominantly agricultural with tourism slowly becoming more important. Cows are much in evidence and are used both for meat and for milk, which is made into a number of well-known cheeses: Bleu dAuvergne, Cantal, Fourme dAmbert and Saint-Nectaire.

    Popular Culture

    The 2002 film, To Be and to Have (Etre et avoir), documents one year in the life of a one-teacher school in rural Saint-Etienne-sur-Usson, Puy-de-Dome, Auvergne.

    References

    Auvergne (region) Wikipedia 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