town, capital of Aveyron departement, Midi-Pyrenees region, and, until 1789, capital of the old district of Rouergue, southern France; it lies at the confluence of the Auterne and Aveyron rivers, overlooking the green undulating country of the Plateau de Segala. Colonized as Ruthena by the Romans, the town was the scene of a struggle between the bishops of Rodez (established there in AD 401) and the counts of Rouergue. A double wall was built between the two hostile parts, the names of which (the episcopal Cite and the feudal Bourg) survive in the town's two places (squares). The Place de la Cite is the site of the magnificent Gothic Notre-Dame cathedral with its 16th-century belfry rising to 285 feet (87 m); the Place du Bourg has the Romanesque church of Saint-Amans, with an 18th-century exterior and 12th-century nave (restored).
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