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19/01/2010

Belfry (Beffroi, "Ch’Bédouf"), Amiens, France


This is a photo of the Belfry of Amiens, France. The city's belfry symbolises the independence and freedom of the municipality.
The belfry had various functions down to the ages : meeting place, watchtower, prison, and so on. In the spire, the bell used to ring for big events.
The lower part was built between 1406 and 1410, and the Baroque clock tower dates from 1749. The belfry suffered fire in the 16th and 18th centuries, and during World War II, but the restoration took place in the 1990s and the dome was reconstructed. A carillon with 30 bells was installed in 2001 (playing between 9am and 7pm, an air from Aristide Bruant "Â Belleville", adapted by "Chés Cabotans d’Amiens").
The belfry is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since July 2005, as part of a group of 23 Belfries of Belgium and France : they are highly significant tokens of the winning of civil liberties. While Italian, German and English towns mainly opted to build town halls, in part of north-western Europe, greater emphasis was placed on building belfries. Compared with the keep (symbol of the seigneurs) and the bell-tower (symbol of the Church), the belfry, the third tower in the urban landscape, symbolizes the power of the aldermen. Over the centuries, they came to represent the influence and wealth of the towns.


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