Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Arrondissement|| 24 cantons|
|Cantons|| chief town of 9 cantons|
|Population (1999)||117,157 habitants|
|Intercommunality (2004)|| Agglomeration|
Caen is a city and a commune of northwestern France. It is the préfecture (administrative capital) of the Calvados département, and the capital of the administrative Basse-Normandie (Lower Normandy) région. Population 115,000.
Caen is known in particular for its historical buildings built under William the Conqueror.
During the end-game of World War II in the wake of the Normandy landings, Caen was the scene of intense combat between Allied and Axis forces with British and Canadian taking the city on July 9, 1944. The rebuilding of Caen took 14 years (1948-1962) and marked its current urbanization.
The Orne flows through Caen.
The castle (Château de Caen ), built ca. 1060 by William the Conqueror, who successfully conquered England in 1066, is one of the largest medieval fortresses of Western Europe. It remained an essential feature of Norman strategy and policy. At Christmas 1182 a royal court celebration for Christmas in the aula of Caen Castle brought together, Henry II and his sons, Richard Cœur de Lion and Jean sans Terre, receiving more than a thousand knights. Caen Castle and all Normandy was delivered to the French Crown in 1204. The castle saw several engagements during the Hundred Years War (1346, 1417, 1450) and was in use as a barracks as late as World War II. Today it serves as a museum enclosure. (See Timeline of Caen Castle)
In repentance for marrying his cousin Mathilde de Flandres, William also ordered for two abbeys to be built:
- Abbaye aux Hommes (Men's Abbey), the current town hall of Caen. It was completed in 1063 and is dedicated to St Etienne (St. Stephen).
- Abbaye aux Dames (Women's Abbey), current regional council (conseil régional ) of Basse-Normandie. It was completed in 1060 and is dedicated to St Gilles.
- Saint-Pierre church.
- Memorial pour la Paix, a Museum for Peace established in 1988, charting the events leading up to and after D-Day. It is an emotional presentation inviting meditation on the thought of Elie Wiesel: "Peace is not a gift from God to man, but a gift from man to himself".
Mayors of Caen include:
In 1952, the small commune of Venoix became part of Caen.
In 1990, the agglomeration of Caen was organized in an arrondissement, transformed in 2002 into a community of agglomeration (Grand Caen, re-elected Caen la Mer in 2004) which gathers 29 communes including Villons-les-Buissons which recently (in 2004) joined the agglomeration.
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