Last modified: 2003-07-12 by ivan sache
Keywords: bouches-du-rhone | saint-mitre-les-remparts |
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by Ivan Sache
Saint-Mitre-les-Remparts is a municipality of 5,557 inhabitants (1999 census), located between the pond of Berre and the Mediterranean Sea. Saint-Mitre is 50 km from Marseilles and 55 km from Aix-en-Provence.
The Castrum Sancti Mitrii (St. Mitre's fort - or fortified
camp) was mentioned for the first time in the XIth century. At that
time, the Sarracens frequently attacked the neighbouring villages and
destroyed the city of Ugium, whose important archeological
remains can be seen in Saint-Blaise, part of the municipality of
Saint-Mitre. Nothing, however, remains from the first wooden fort
which was built on the hill of Saint-Mitre.
In the XIIIth century, the Archbishop of Arles, tlord of Saint-Mitre, built a stone fort, whose remains are still visible in the southern part of the city walls. At the end of the XIVth century, Raymond de Turenne, the infamous lord of Les Baux, trashed the area and destroyed the village of Castelveyre, which had been built on the ruins of Ugium. The inhabitants of the area took refuge in Saint-Mitre, whose garrison was increased and defences strengthened by the Archbishop of Arles. New walls, 12-m high and 1.5-m thick, were built. Such walls are called in French remparts, and Saint-Mitre changed its name to Saint-Mitre-les-Remparts in 1949.
The economic development of Saint-Mitre started in the XVI-XVIIth centuries. Since the region had been pacified, the inhabitants of Saint-Mitre, who had built houses against the walls, started to open windows and doors through the walls. However, those openings were closed up again during the black plague epidemics (1558, 1620, 1720) and the Religion Wars (1598). The northern part of the city walls was used as a support for olive oil mills. Several parts of the city walls were later suppressed to facilitate communications, especially in the XIXth century. The decline of Saint-Mitre started when four out of the five windmills and the twelve oil mills were closed. Most people left Saint-Mitre and emigrated to the industrial cities of the area, so that in 1954 the population was 677, the half of the XVIIIth century population. In the 1960-1970s, the development of petroleum industry around the port of Fos-sur-Mer caused a renewed interest for Saint-Mitre, whose population is now over 5,000.
Ivan Sache, 14 April 2003
The municipal flag of Saint-Mitre-les-Remparts is vertically divided blue-yellow. It is hoisted in front of the city hall.
The colours of the flag are taken from the coat of arms. The coat of arms is:
D'azur à une crosse d'or en pal, accostée de deux fleurs de lys du même
Azure a crozier or in pale between two fleurs de lis of the same
It shows on a blue field a yellow crozier placed vertically in the middle of the shield and flanked with two yellow fleurs de lis. It is therefore logical to have placed at hoist the colour of the shield and at fly the colour of the charges. These arms are dated 1551.
Ivan Sache, 14 April 2003