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A little history of Doms rock in Avignon

The rock | Véronique PAGNIER / Public domain
Rock Doms rock in Avignon

An old rock

This big rock overlooking Rhône valley. A breathtakingly view! In fact, the Doms was the first inhabited place in Avignon, in 2 000 years BC. In the Middle-Ages, they raised a castle there, for city's counts. Then it was transformed into a powder store, destroyed in 1650 by an explosion. Little by little, in the 18th century, they raised banisters to climb the rock, then they laid out a cemetery in 1802. The creation of the current garden dates back to 1830.

A strange stele

But the most striking event was an archaeological discovery in 1960... Jacky Granier (future Requien museum curator) and archaeologist Sylvain Gagnière found a strange anthropomorphous stele made of limestone. Did people use it for funerary rites? Was it the entrance of a necropolis? Mystery... And what about the name Doms? We don’t know exactly the origin: maybe it comes from domus, which means "house" in Latin, because the bishop had his house here? Maybe from dunum, which means a fortified place or a hill in Celtic language? Or simply maybe from dom, like in French cities of Domme, Domps or Dombes... One thing is sure: in the past there was a temple dedicated to Diane on the rock, a Hercules statue... and the strange prehistoric stele!

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!