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Semdr-En-Auxois

SEMDR-EN-AUXOIS, a town of eastern France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of C&te-d'Or, 45 m. W.N. W. of Dijon on the Paris-Lyon railway. Pop. (1906) 3278. Semur occupies one of the finest sites in France, on the extremity of a plateau dominating the river Arman^on, which surrounds the town on three sides. The river forms this extremity into a peninsula which is occupied by the old town, once surrounded by ramparts, the remains of which are still to be seen. An isthmus, on which stands the castle, unites the older to the newer quarter, in which are situated an old gateway of the isth century and the church of Notre-Dame. This building, which belongs mainly to the 13th century, is one of the purest examples of Gothic architecture in Burgundy, though the narrowness of the nave, to some degree, spoils its proportions. The portal with its three arched openings projects from the facade, which is flanked by two square towers surmounted by balustrades. Of the artistic features of the interior one of the most noteworthy is the sculptured keystone of the vaulting of the apse, representing the crowning of the Virgin. The castle (13th and 14th centuries) consists of )a rectangular keep flanked by four towers. Portions of it are still in use. Among the numerous old houses in the town is one belonging to the time of Louis XIV. of which the last proprietor was Florent Claude du Chatelet, husband of the friend of Voltaire. It is now used as a hospital. Semur possesses a sub-prefecture, a tribunal of first instance and a communal college. It is an important market centre for the Auxois and Morvan, and has trade in horses, grain, sheep, fruit and vegetables. Cement, leather, oil, and chemical manures are among its industrial products.

Semur (Sinemurum) was a Gallic fortress in the dark ages and in feudal times a castle of the dukes of Burgundy. In the I ith century it became capital of Auxois. Its communal charter dates from 1276. The incorporation of Burgundy with France was resisted by the town, which was taken and pillaged by the royal troops in 1478. During the wars of religion in the 16th century it served as refuge for the Leaguers, and though it submitted to Henry IV. at his accession its fortifications were destroyed in 1602.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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