Rouen

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Rouen

Rouen (rōōäN´), city (1990 pop. 105,470), capital of Seine-Maritime dept., N France. Situated on the Seine near its mouth at the English Channel, Rouen functions as the port of Paris, handling an enormous volume of traffic. Among its many manufactures are metal products, chemicals, drugs, textiles, paper, and leather goods. Rouen is also an old commercial, administrative, and cultural center. Of pre-Roman origin, Rouen was the victim of repeated raids (9th cent.) by the Norsemen. By the 10th cent. it was the capital of Normandy and a leading European city. It was held (1419–49) in the Hundred Years War by the English. Joan of Arc was tried and burned there in 1431. From 1499 to 1789, Rouen was, with interruptions, the seat of a provincial parlement. A judicial center, it furnished many magistrates to France. Rouen has been an archiepiscopal see since the 5th cent. and is particularly rich in ecclesiastical buildings (see Gothic architecture and art). Rouen suffered severe damage in World War II; its port and much of the city had to be reconstructed. Damaged, but since restored, are the cathedral of Notre Dame (12th–15th cent.) with its famous Tour de Beurre [butter tower]; the Church of St. Maclou and the palace of justice (both 15th–16th cent.); and the Grosse Horloge, a Renaissance clock tower. The houses where Pierre Corneille and Gustave Flaubert were born are both museums. A university opened in Rouen in 1966.

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