Limoges is a city of about 300,000 located in west-central France. In medieval times it was known for the making of enamel work on copper. Later in the 19th century fine quality porcelain became one of its most famous products. Porcelain production was made possible by the discovery of white clay found in kaolin rock in 1768. Several porcelain factories in and around the city of Limoges make items. Today more than 50 percent of porcelain made in France comes from Limoges. Also manufactured are oak barrels used for Cognac and Bordeaux production. The outer rural area has a long history of breeding sheep and cows. That plus the associated leather industry allowed the production of luxury shoes, gloves and bags that are still made today.
The Romans founded a city here in 10 BC and called it Augustoritum after the emperor Augustus and as a place to ford the river, “rito” being a Gaulish word for ford. This early city had baths, sanctuaries, an amphitheater, and a temple. The temple was located near where the cathedral stands today. It also had its own currency and a Senate.
Christianity arrived around 250 AD with Saint Martial and his two companions, Alpininaus and Austriclinienus, but was more or less abandoned toward the end of the 3rd century due to unsafe living conditions brought about by invasions of Germanic tribes. In the 9th century the Abbey of St. Martial was established and a settlement began to re-grow around the tomb of the saint. The Abbey had a large library that helped Limoges become a flourishing artistic center with a school of medieval music composition.
By the 13th century Limoges was at the peak of its splendor and had two fortified settlements, a walled town and a castle. Edward, the Black Prince, occupied the city in 1370 massacring some 300 residents or about 1/6 of the population. The area struggled following that event but in 1792 the castle and the city united to become one single city called Limoges. In the 19th century much of the city was rebuilt to correct unsafe living conditions.
Thanks once again to my kind friend who continues to send such beautiful postcards!
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