Even if traces of earlier human settlements have been found on the edge of the Saône river (10,000 years BC), it’s at Fourvière 43 BC where the original city of Lyons was established (Lugdunum). This imposing hill reaches a height of 300 meters; its situation enabled it to be the meeting point of four Roman roads coming from Aquitaine, the Channel, the Rhine and the Narbonnaise. Lugdunum quickly became the capital of the Gauls. The town then spread out towards the east after crossing the Saône and then the Rhône.
The Hill of Fourvière, that is to say Saint-Irénée, Saint-Just, Fourvière and Montanban, contains antique ruins, the museum of the Gallo-roman civilisation, panoramic views across the city, religious establishments, ancient military buildings and fortifications. Of all the religious monuments, the most imposing is of course the Fourvière basilica (XIX century).
Other specific elements can be mentioned such as the Institut Franco-Chinois (XX century) within the Fort Saint-Irénée or the Tour Métallique (XIX century) and the montée Nicolas de Lange.
Lugdunum was founded in 43 BC by one of Cesar’s officers, Lucius Munatius Plancus, who appreciated its central position and access to the two rivers. Fourvière had begun to develop from 27 BC onwards under the reign of Augustus: monuments, aqueducts, commerce, … The city perfectly fitted the perimeters of the Fourvière plateau and the upper parts of the Saône slopes. It contained four aqueducts which provided the inhabitants with water, a forum where the Fourvière esplanade now is, an imperial palace in the north, a large sanctuary dedicated to the imperial cult, a theatre of more than 100 metres in diameter and able to hold 10,500 people, the impressive odeon with its diameter of 73 meters, the largest in the Empire, thermal baths and the very beautiful villas in the east.
Monuments and remarkable buildings :
– Basilica of Fourvière (Bossan and Sainte-Marie Perrin, 1872- 1896) which overlooks the town,
– Museum of Fourvière, collection of religious works of art,
– Museum of Gallo-Roman Civilisation, 5 rue Cléberg, built in 1976 by Zehrfuss,
– Archeology Park, rue de l’Antiquaille,
– Large Roman Theatre, built at the beginning of the Roman Empire, rue de l’Antiquaille,
– Odeon, early second century, rue de l’Antiquaille,
– Thermal baths and -I century-Antiquity residential neighbourhood, rue des Farges, terraced over several streets,
– Antiquaille and the tomb of Saint-Pothin, rue de l’Antiquaille,
– Metallic Tower, montée Nicolas de Lange
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