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Arras coat of arms
Arras (France)
region Hauts-de-France
Department Pas-de-Calais ( prefecture )
Arrondissement Arras
Canton Arras-1 (main town)
Arras-2 (main town)
Arras-3 (main town)
Community association Arras
Coordinates 50 ° 17 '  N , 2 ° 47'  E Coordinates: 50 ° 17 '  N , 2 ° 47'  E
height 52-99 m
surface 11.63 km 2
Residents 41,019 (January 1, 2017)
Population density 3,527 inhabitants / km 2
Post Code 62000
INSEE code

Downtown Arras with the Place des Héros with the Town Hall (left) and Grande Place

Arras [ aʁɑːs ] ( Dutch and German, outdated Atrecht ) is a French city in the region Hauts-de-France . It is the administrative seat of the Pas-de-Calais department . The first documentary mention can be dated to the year 407.


The city with 41,019 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2017) is located in the historic province of Artois near the confluence of the Scarpe and the Crinchon , about 50 kilometers southwest of Lille .


Tapestry of the School of Arras around 1410

Arras was originally a Celtic settlement ( Atrebatae ) inhabited by the Viromandu tribe. Later it was expanded by the Romans to the garrison town of Atrebatum .

When the Franconian Empire was partitioned , Arras fell to Lothar I. In the West Franconian imperial annals , the Annales Bertiniani , it says in relation to the Treaty of Verdun : "Outside these borders he (Lothar) only received Arras through the kindness of his brother Karl".

Arras was on the border between France and the Holy Roman Empire for many centuries . The rulership of the city changed frequently. Finally, fortifications were built by the architect Vauban , which helped to keep the city permanently under French rule.

With the help of mediators as representatives of Pope Eugene IV and the Council of Basel , the Peace of Arras between France and Burgundy, which had been allied with England until then , came about in 1435 (→ Hundred Years War ). But other contracts were also negotiated and concluded in this city. From 1459 to 1461, citizens of the city committed denunciations, heretic and witch hunts that became known under the name “Vauderies d'Arras”, which the Polish writer Andrzej Szczypiorski processed in his novel “A Mass for the City of Arras”.

Economically, the city lived for a long time from trade with Flanders and later became an important center for the cultivation and processing of sugar beet . The city gained great importance as one of the main centers of tapestry production in the South of the Netherlands . These products from the factories are still known by name as Arrazzi .

Arras, Grande Place, 1919

During the First World War Arras was near the front. From September 6, 1914, the city was briefly occupied by German troops, but they were pushed back to the outskirts during the month. From autumn 1914 to 1918 several major battles took place in the northern suburbs, for example the Loretto Battle in May / June 1915 and the Battle of Arras in April / May 1917. The Allies were able to defend Arras against all attacks by the Germans - not least thanks to one thing gigantic tunnel system created below the city, in which up to 24,000 soldiers could be accommodated. The city was almost completely destroyed during the war: the town hall burned down on October 7, 1914 and the belfry collapsed on October 21, 1914. The cathedral was destroyed on July 6, 1915. After the war, Arras was rebuilt in historical form.

During the Second World War , the city was occupied by German troops from June 1940 ( western campaign ) to the end of August 1944, who stationed the Arras defense post here from 1943 to 1944 . 240 French were executed by the occupiers as members of the Resistance in the citadel of Arras . On September 1, 1944, two rapidly advancing divisions of the British XXX Corps reached Arras, namely the 11th Armored Division and the Guards Division.

In 1950 there was a much-noticed scandal about the MP Antoine de Récy , who among other things had embezzled a large sum of money.

coat of arms

The coat of arms has been on seals since 1355 . The small blue shield with the golden lilies and the red tournament collar , located in the red heraldic shield above the soaring blue-armored golden lion , is the family symbol of the first gentleman Robert d'Artois.


The city's landmarks are two large squares in the center, the Grande Place and the Place des Héros . They are surrounded by an ensemble of restored buildings.

The most important buildings in the city are the late baroque - classicist cathedral (1778–1833) and the Gothic town hall (1462–1572) with a belfry , which has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Belfries in France” since 2005 .

The citadel built by Vauban has also been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site " Fortifications of Vauban " since 2008 .

The Boves are a well-preserved underground network of tunnels 10 meters below the city. They were built in the 10th century and can be visited. The idea was to build a huge underground network to connect the cellars of all residents through tunnels. The excavated material (chalk) was used to build houses. During the world wars, the boves were used as an underground bunker to protect residents and valuable items from falling bombs.


Town twinning

A school partnership between the Lycée Robespierre and the Lycée Gambetta and the König-Wilhelm-Gymnasium in the North Rhine-Westphalian town of Höxter has existed since 1956/57 .

Web links

Commons : Arras  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Angelika Franz: Tunnel city under hell . In: Der Spiegel from April 16, 2008
  2. "Mur des Fusilliers"
  3. [1]
  4. Nobody hears us there. In: Der Spiegel 37/1950 of September 13, 1950
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