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Tour Soubirane


place des conques
12260 Villeneuve

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Medieval gate-tower at the entrance to the bastide town of Villeneuve.

From the city wall, attested in 1208 and probably built in the 12C. on the initiative of the prior of Villeneuve in order to protect the inhabitants and the goods of the safety, reorganized in the aftermath of the Hundred Years War, the Cardalhac gate-tower and the Soubirane gate-tower remain.

The Soubirane tower (Sobirana) or Upstream gate, and the Cardalhac tower, constituted with the Manhanenque gate and the Echorenque gate, located at the end of the safety and both disappeared, the main defense works of the city during the 'medieval ages. Built in 1486 on the site of a first work and fully versatile, the Soubirane tower was then adapted to surveillance, the defense of the city, the storage of food and weapons, and served as a prison. Monumental and facing the Rodez road to the east, and blocking access to the bastide, the Soubirane tower was an eminent urban symbol.

Adapted to artillery, as evidenced by the gun loops that equip the main facade, this prodigious defensive work built in cut stone and limestone rubble, accessible by a spiral staircase, was extended to the west by a wooden gallery (houdage) erected on raised stone consoles. This device made it possible to control access to the Place des Conques and to practice shooting if necessary. A caretaker, responsible for opening and closing the heavy doors, handling the winch that operated the two wooden portcullis serving as stop elements, lived permanently on the first floor of the tower. A manhole made it possible to mount projectiles, effects and food, to monitor the passage and to shout orders. Likely to allow quality surveillance, to impress the enemy and to interrupt all traffic, including during epidemics, the gate-tower was also probably used as a toll.

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Opening hours from July 01 to September 10, 2024
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