Avignon is also called the second Rome because of the arrival of the Popes in the 14th Century during the Babylonian captivity. It was also the residence of several antipopes from 1378 to 1408.
After a plebiscite it was incorporated to France into 1791.
Avignon is a city full of history, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Avignon is the capital of the Vaucluse département, located in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, with a population of approximately 85,935 people.
The name of this city comes from the Celts, who called the area The Avenio which means the Town of Violent Winds.
The era of the Popes, from 1376 to 1409, is the most important and significant in Avignon's history, seven Popes took Avignon as their official residence,
* Pope Clement V
* Pope John XXII
* Pope Benedict XII
* Pope Clement VI
* Pope Innocent VI
* Pope Urban V
* Pope Gregory XI
During this period the city's population also increased to approximately 40,000 inhabitants, many of whom suffered from the consequences of the plage, and the population diminished to 15,000.
The Papacy period was also known as the Babylonian Captivity of exile, in reference to the Israelites' enslavement in biblical times.
Before this period Avignon was not a very interesting town, but during this period of residence it became one of the most beautiful French cities.
The Pope's Palace was built around this time,, an imposing fortress made up of tower. Other examples are the old churches of St. Didier, St. Peter and St. Agricola, all of which were built or restored by Popes, cardinals and other dignitaries.
The papal return to Rome prompted the Great Schism, during which the antipopes Clement VII and Benedict XIII continued to reside in Avignon.
After this period Avignon continued to be ruled by legates as papal territory but Avignon was finally incorporated into France after the French Revolution. Then, Avignon was the commercial capital of France, because of the trail transport, the silk and madder root trade and because it was the main provider of fresh market products in France. After World War Two this city began to grow in economic and cultural terms. The Theatre Festival was created and Avignon was elected a European City of Culture in the year 2000.
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