The city of vienna conceals a rich historical heritage, its location at the confluence of the Rhône and the Gère, at the convergence of traffic axes between the Alps and the Massif Central, and its hilly topography offering promontories, have made it a place of human settlement from protohistory. Today the city has around forty monuments or listed sites. Non-exhaustive panorama of the heritage of Vienna.
The Gallo-Roman city
Vienna has various ancient remains. Little is known about the establishment of a Roman colony in Vienna, currently it is attributed to the reign of Octavian Augustus (27 BC - 14 AD).
On the site of the archaeological garden of Cybèle, which is located on the old hospital of Vienne, vestiges of the Gallo-Roman city have been brought to light, we can see the arcades of the portico which bordered the forum, the remains of 'an assembly hall, as well as those of houses and furnished terraces. Regarding housing, the site of Saint-Romain-en-Gal, located near Vienne, also preserves the remains of a residential area.
The temple of Augustus and Livia, which was located at the time on the forum, is a building built for the worship of the emperor Octavian Augustus and Rome (the homeland). Built between 20 and 10 BC. J.C., the temple is peripteral sine postico (colonnade on three sides, that of the bottom being blind), hexastyle (six columns in front), with a decoration of Corinthian style. In early Christian times the portico was closed and the temple converted into a church, this is what has made it possible to keep it to this day. It is often compared to the Maison Carrée in Nîmes.
On the flanks of Mont Pipet is the theater, built in the 1st century, it is one of the largest known Roman theaters. The building could accommodate more than 10,000 spectators.
On the Cours Brillier remain vestiges of the Roman wall, it is about a wall of more than 7 km long, that is to say the longest known in Gaul, built in the 1st century to enclose the primitive city. Its surface area also makes it one of the largest Gallo-Roman towns in the provinces. This wall has an “honorary” value more than defensive, its construction is authorized by an imperial privilege, a sign of the prestige of the city.
Finally, in the garden of May 8, 1945, a Roman road was found and preserved, we can see the ancient paving in granite blocks and a road terminal (anachronistic, it dates from the reign of Constantine). In the park there is also a stone statue of a young man riding a lion, a medieval vestige of the monastery of Saint Peter. At the foot of the steeple of Saint Peter's Church are two other statues of lions. According to a legend, all three were “miraculously” transported from Rome to Vienna in the 6th century. The three sculptures would then have served as “lanterns of the dead” in the abbey cemetery.
From the beginning of the Middle Ages, Vienne imposed itself as one of the cradles of Christianity in France, and became an important city. Various religious foundations were established there, and from the 11th century it was controlled by the bishops of the city.
The church of Saint Pierre, which now houses the lapidary museum, is one of the oldest churches in France, built in the 5th century, it is also the best preserved. Originally it is a funeral basilica where the bishops of Vienna are buried, such as Mamert, its probable founder. The apse and the wall arches in the nave seem to belong to the early church. Changes were made to the windows in the Carolingian period, then in the 12th - 13th century, when the nave was divided into three aisles, and the bell tower-porch added.
The collections housed today in the church contain in particular the sarcophagus of Saint-Léonien, a hermit who died in the 6th century. This white marble sarcophagus presents motifs of vine scrolls and a canthare (an handles vase), symbolizing the blood of Christ, as well as peacocks, which are associated with immortality for their reputedly rot-proof pulpit. In short, it is an iconography which symbolizes the resurrection.
Saint Maurice Cathedral has occupied the same location since the 4th century, but the current building does not predate the 10th. Its monumental Gothic-style facade is pierced by three portals and framed by two towers on either side.
The cloister of the Abbey of Saint-André-le-Bas (founded in the 6th-7th century) is the only complete medieval cloister in the Rhône-Alpes region. Built in the 12th century, it was restored in the 1930s, then more recently from 2010 to 2011. Its style is typical of Rhone Romanesque art. The columns, of Corinthian inspiration, are adorned with plant motifs, eggs, or pearls. A capital in particular is decorated with the scene of Samson tearing the lion's mouth open, a biblical theme from the Old Testament. The ceiling is not vaulted but of wood, coffered and painted. In one of the cloister galleries, small columns from the steeple of the Saint-André-le-Bas church are on display. They represent allegorical and symbolic themes referring to the forces of good and evil, the medieval, realistic or fantastic bestiary, as well as plant decorations.