Canal du midi près de Carcassonne
The Canal du Midi (Occitan: Canal de las Doas Mars, this means canal of the two seas) is a 240 km (150 mi) very long canal in Southern France (French: le Midi). The canal connects the Garonne River to the Étang de Thau on the Mediterranean and alongside with the Canal de Garonne forms the Canal des Deux Mers signing up for the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. The canal runs from the city of Toulouse down to the Étang de Thau. The Canal du Midi was designed by Pierre-Paul Riquet.
It was inscribed as a UNESCO Environment Heritage Web page in 1996.[one]
The Canal du Midi was designed to provide as a shortcut among the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, avoiding the very long sea voyage about hostile Spain, Barbary pirates, and a trip that in the 17th century took a total thirty day period to finish. Its strategic worth was clear and it experienced been talked over for hundreds of years, in specific when King Francis I brought Leonardo da Vinci to France in 1516 and commissioned a study of a route from the Garonne at Toulouse to the Aude at Carcassonne. The major challenge was how to offer the summit sections with plenty of h2o.[three]
In 1662, Pierre-Paul Riquet, a rich tax-farmer in the Languedoc location, who knew the location intimately, considered he could clear up the challenge, but he to start with experienced to persuade Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the finance minister of Louis XIV, which he did by means of his friendship with the Archbishop of Toulouse. A Royal Commission was appointed and in 1665 advisable the challenge which was at last ordered by Louis XIV in 1666 with the achievable expenditure of three,360,000 livres. The technical specs for the function were being drawn up by the head of this commission and France’s primary armed service engineer in that time period, the Chevalier de Clerville, who remained a loyal ally of Riquet and partisan of the Canal du Midi till his death.[three] To help in the layout, Riquet is reported to have built a miniature canal in the grounds of his residence, Bonrepos, finish with locks, weirs, feeder channels and even a tunnel.
At the age of sixty three, Riquet started off his fantastic enterprise, sending his particular engineer, François Andreossy, and a community h2o skilled, Pierre Roux, to the Montagne Noire to function on the h2o offer. Some of Clerville’s adult males with practical experience in armed service engineering came, also, to make a enormous dam, the Bassin de St. Ferréol, on the Laudot river. The Laudot is a tributary of the River Tarn in the Montagne Noire some twenty km (twelve mi) from the summit of the proposed canal at Seuil de Naurouze. This large dam, seven-hundred metres (2,three hundred ft) very long, 30 metres (ninety eight ft) over the riverbed and one hundred twenty metres (390 ft) thick at its foundation was the biggest function of civil engineering in Europe and only the second major dam to be designed in Europe, after one in Alicante in Spain. It was linked to the Canal du Midi by a contoured channel in excess of 25 km very long, three.seven m (twelve ft) extensive with a foundation width of one.5 m (4.9 ft). It was ultimately outfitted with 14 locks in get to deliver building materials for the canal down from the mountains and to create a new port for the mountain town of Revel. This offer process properly fed the canal with h2o where it crossed the continental divide, replacing h2o that drained toward the two seas. The process was a masterpiece of both of those hydraulic and structural engineering, and served as an early ratification of Riquet’s eyesight. It was also a major aspect of a large enterprise. At its peak twelve,000 labourers labored on the challenge, which include in excess of a thousand women of all ages, quite a few of whom came particularly to function on the h2o process.[three]
The women of all ages labourers were being remarkably essential to the canal’s engineering. A lot of came from former Roman bathtub colonies in the Pyrenees, where aspects of classical hydraulics experienced been maintained as a dwelling custom. They were being hired at to start with to haul dirt to the dam at St. Ferréol, but their supervisors, who were being battling to layout the channels from the dam to the canal, recognized their abilities. Engineering in this time period was largely centered on fortress building, and hydraulics was concerned primarily with mining and difficulties of drainage. Making a navigational canal across the continent was well beyond the formal expertise of the armed service engineers predicted to supervise it, but the peasant women of all ages who were being carriers of classical hydraulic techniques additional to the repertoire of out there techniques. They not only perfected the h2o offer process for the canal but also threaded the waterway by means of the mountains around Béziers, making use of couple of locks, and designed the 8-lock staircase at Fonserannes.[three]
The canal was designed on a grand scale, with oval shaped locks 30.5 m (one hundred ft) very long, six m (twenty ft) extensive at the gates and eleven m (36 ft) extensive in the middle. This layout was meant to resist the collapse of the walls that happened early in the challenge. The oval locks utilized the energy of the arch in opposition to the inward stress of the encompassing soil that experienced destabilized the early locks with straight walls. Such arches experienced been utilized by the Romans for retaining walls in Gaul, so this strategy was not new, but its application to locks was innovative and was imitated in early American canals.[three]
A lot of of the structures were being developed with neoclassical aspects to additional and to echo the king’s ambitions to make France a New Rome. The Canal du Midi as a grand piece of infrastructural engineering in itself was promoted as deserving of Rome and the political goals guiding it were being clarified with plaques in Latin, and walls designed with Roman capabilities.[three]
The Canal du Midi was opened formally as the Canal Royal de Languedoc on Might 15, 1681. It was also referred to as the Canal des Deux Mers (Canal of Two Seas). It ultimately value in excess of 15 million livres, of which virtually two million came from Riquet himself, leaving him with enormous debts, and he died in 1680, just months just before the Canal was opened. His sons inherited the canal, but the family’s investments were being not recovered and debts not totally paid till in excess of one hundred decades later. The canal was well managed and operate as a paternalistic enterprise till the revolution.
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