Virton

Virton

Infobox Belgium Municipality
name=Virton
picture=
picture-



map-

arms=


arms=



region=BE-REG-WAL
community=BE-FR
province=BE-PROV-LX
arrondissement=Virton
nis=85045
pyramid-date=
0-19=
20-64=
65=
foreigners=
foreigners-date=
mayor=Michel Thiry (cdH)
majority=cdH, PS
postal-codes=6760-6762
telephone-area=063
web= [http://www.virton.be/ www.virton.be]
lat_deg=49
lat_min=34
lon_deg=05
lon_min=32

Virton is the most southerly town in Belgium and the administrative centre of a Walloon municipality ( _fr. commune) and district ("arrondissement") of the same name, located in the Belgian province of Luxembourg. Virton is the principal town of the small region of Belgian Lorraine known as the Gaume, famous for its microclimate.

Virton municipality includes the old communes of Belmont, Bleid, Chenois, Èthe, Gomery, Grandcourt, Latour, Ruette, Saint-Mard, and Saint-Remy.

History

Antiquity and Middle Ages

Several archeological finds indicate that the area was already inhabited before the Romans built villas there and baptized the town "Vertunum". In the early 5th century, the Romans had to flee the Germanic invasions. Their settlement was destroyed and rebuilt by the Franks somewhat to the north.

Virton was mentioned for the first time in Pope Lucius III’s bull of 1183 as a fiefdom of the House of Chiny. As overlords of Virton, the Counts of Chiny could raise taxes (the "tonlieu") on the various goods sold at the local market, which already existed in 1270. In 1441, the Duchy of Luxembourg, was sold to Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy. From that date, Virton, like many other Walloon cities, became embroiled in more than two centuries of wars between France, Spain, and the Netherlands, with all the fighting, famine, epidemics (plague…), and economic disasters that ensued. The city fared better under the rule of Maria Theresa of Austria in the 18th century, thanks in part to the development of the Lorraine steel industry.

Modern times

The French Revolution shattered those advances. Virton had to wait until the departure of Napoleon in 1815 to see prosperous times again. Virton enthusiastically participated in the Belgian Revolution and even in the French Revolution of 1848. On August 22, 1914, at the onset of World War I, hundreds of inhabitants were summarily executed by the invading German army, while mass deportations occurred during World War II. Virton is now the commercial and tourist centre of the Gaume region.

ights

*The small hilly streets and colourful houses.
*The church of St Lawrence, built between 1825 and 1830 with a classical façade.
*Remnants of the medieval defensive wall.

Folklore

*The city’s mascot is "D’Jean d’Mady", a typical, joyful, and resourceful Gaume inhabitant who was allegedly born in one of the neighbouring villages in 1585.
*Since 1935, Virton owns two traditional giants who take part in the local festivities.

People born in Virton

*Benoît Mariage, film director (born in 1961)

Canadian friendship

Virton, Florenville, and many other neighbouring villages were the homes of many Canadian families whose fathers/husbands were stationed nearby at RCAF Station No. 1 (F) Wing, in Marville, France. Prior to moving the base to Lahr, Germany, there were ceremonies in these towns and in Longuyon, France (Permanent Married Quarters), where the Canadians left three small 'thunderbird' totem poles. These totems are still there and were rededicated in September 2005 on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the base.

External links

* [http://www.virton.be Official city web site] (in French)
* [http://soleildegaume.com Official Gaume site] (in French, Dutch, German, and English)
* [http://gaumetourisme.be Alternative Gaume site] (in French and Dutch)

References

*Lambert G., Michel J., Petit A., and Vaulet P., "Histoire de Virton : des origines à l'an 2000" Ed. des musées gaumais, asbl Virton – 1998, cited in


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