The Basilica of Saints Nazarius and Celsus is a Roman Catholic minor basilica situated in the heart of the medieval walled city of Carcassonne. The first church at this site was built during the 6th century during the reign of Theodoric the Great, ruler of the Visigoths who at that time occupied Carcassonne. Construction of the current cathedral began in the 11th century and replaced an earlier Carolingian cathedral, of which no traces remain. It is known that on 12th June 1096 Pope Urban II visited Carcassonne and blessed the building materials that were to be used for its construction. The build was completed in the first half of the 12th century and many of the fine Romanesque features date from this period. The 12th and 13th centuries in Southern France were a tumultuous time with a series of conquests and occupations and in 1209 Simon de Montfort became the Viscount of Carcassonne after taking part in the Albgensian Crusade. During the rule of Kings Philip II and Philip IV their was a desire to alter the cathedral in a more Gothic Style. Originally the aspiration had been to rebuild the whole basilica but due to the a lack of funds it was amended rather than reconstructed hence leading to the fine Romanesque-Gothic structure that we see today. The basilica was the appointed cathedral of Carcassonne until 1803 when the Episcopal See was transferred to St Michael’s church in the modern city of Carcassonne outside of the citadel, Pope Leo XIII gave the title of minor Basilica to the former cathedral in 1898.
GPS: 43.20525, 2.36287