Archaeological crypt of Nice , Nice , Architecture, Monuments, Museum Provence Attractions

Archaeological crypt of Nice
Address - 1 Place Jacques Toja - 06300
Type - Architecture, Monuments, Museum
The archaeological crypt is not quite usual sight of Nice. The tourists interested in the history of fortification and the life of European cities (starting from the XIV century.) rush here.

La crypte archeologique de NiceThe ruins of the fortress walls were discovered by accident in the area of the Place Garibaldi in 2004 during the excavation for the laying of the tram line. The road workers that stumbled upon the «antiquities» reported about the discovery, and the other earthworks - archaeological has already begun at this place. (The story of this discovery reminded similar event with the Paris crypt of Notre Dame de Paris found under similar circumstances).

In Nice under the Boulevard Jean Jaures the ruins of the medieval Old Bridge and the well-preserved Pairolière Tower (to which once the city gates adjoined) were «unearthed».

All findings had to be carefully studies and in the prefecture of the region it was decided to allocate the area of 2,000 square meters with a dip of 6 meters to the excavation. For Nice this was the first such large-scale archaeological project. A special department was even organized in the mayor's office which, since 2008, became in charge of the archaeological activity in the city and the surrounding marine waters.

First the archaeologists continued the works on the Place Garibaldi under the «open sky», and later – in an enclosed space (which was formed under the territory of laying tram lines). Creating such a space was not an easy task. Above the excavation strong beams of concrete were laid able to withstand a modern light rail, and along the perimeter the concrete walls were built.

Now the excursionists can go downstairs into the crypt passing through a special hatch in the pavement on the Place Jacques Toja (the hatch opens with powerful hydraulic jacks). At that the visitors are admitted here only in small groups – 15 people.

So hundreds of citizens that came to the opening of the crypt have been waiting for long for their turn to see firsthand the archaeological finds. (Those who are going to visit the crypt are advised to wear low-heeled shoes, because they will have to walk on a metal trellis path and it is easy to break the thin heels there).

This metal track with rails on which the visitors walk actually hangs «in the air», stretched out over the vast expanse of the excavation.

From there the excursionists can clearly see the remnants of the ramparts, the bastions of the 16th century, the medieval aqueduct that supplied water to Nice and the stonework round Pairolière Tower of 14th century. (This huge architectural complex was destroyed in 1706 by the troops of Louis XIV after the brutal siege of the city).

Since then Nice lost the role of a powerful fortress of the Mediterranean and «focused» on commerce, and later – on tourism ...

And only the crypt under the Place Garibaldi remains a vivid reminder of the old Nice, courageous and militant, that has left tits indelible mark in European history.

Map - Archaeological crypt of Nice

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