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Arrondissement historique du Vieux-Québec
UNESCO world heritage UNESCO World Heritage Emblem

Panorama of Old Québec
Panorama of Old Québec
National territory: CanadaCanada Canada
Type: Culture
Criteria : (iv) (vi)
Reference No .: 300
UNESCO region : Europe and North America
History of enrollment
Enrollment: 1985  (session 9)

Vieux-Québec is the historic city center of Québec in Canada . The area includes the upper town ( French Haute-Ville ) on the Cap Diamant rock spur and the lower town (Basse-Ville) on the Saint Lawrence River . Since 3 December 1985, the old town is a World Heritage of UNESCO since 1963, she is also known as arrondissement historique (Historic District) under protection. The Upper City is surrounded by the 4.6 km long city ​​walls of Québec , the only surviving city fortifications in America north of Mexico . In total, the old town covers an area of ​​135 hectares and has around 1400 buildings that date back to the 17th century. Administratively, Vieux-Québec belongs to the Arrondissement La Cité-Limoilou .

Upper town (Haute-Ville)

In 1620 city founder Samuel de Champlain chose the area of ​​today's Upper Town as the location of Fort Saint-Louis . The area soon established itself as the administrative and institutional center of the city, as well as a preferred residential area for the upper middle class and the nobility. After the conquest in 1759, the British elite also settled here. Large-scale military facilities such as parade grounds, bastions and the Citadel of Québec limited the expansion of the Upper City for a long time. In the 1860s, several of the original city gates were demolished to improve traffic flow. When the city walls were about to be torn down, a committee headed by Governor General Lord Dufferin successfully defended itself in 1871 and also managed to rebuild two gates.

At the same time, efforts to preserve the historical building fabric were initially modest. In the 1920s, the city administration was emphatically progressive and had numerous buildings demolished to make room for wider streets and modern new buildings. This approach was particularly evident when the Price Brothers paper company was allowed to build its headquarters in the middle of the old town between 1929 and 1931, the Édifice Price . Political resistance arose against the threat to the architectural heritage, which gradually led to a change of mind.

While there was still a certain decline in the historical building fabric in the 1950s, the historic district was gradually revitalized from the 1970s. Today the upper town is a popular attraction for tourists, to which the French-influenced architecture of the early modern period , which is unique in North America in its richness and concentration, contributes in particular . Most of the buildings in the upper town date from the early 19th century, some of them date back to the second half of the 17th century. In addition to the Édifice Price, the most striking buildings are the luxury hotel Château Frontenac , the Catholic Cathedral Notre-Dame de Québec , the Anglican Cathedral Holy Trinity , the Séminaire de Québec , the Citadel and the Hôtel de Ville .

Lower town (Basse-Ville)

The lower town at the foot of Cap Diamant is a few years older than the upper town, which is up to 90 meters higher. At what is now Place Royale , the Habitation de Québec , the first building complex in the city , was built under the direction of Samuel de Champlain . In 1682 a major fire destroyed large parts of the lower town. The Church of Notre-Dame-des-Victoires was built on the site of the Habitation in 1688 , and was the first completely stone church in North America. In the 1970s, extensive restoration, dismantling and reconstruction work took place on the buildings around Place Royale in order to restore them to their late 18th century state. The project was controversial because it only took into account the French cultural heritage and later building developments from the British and Canadian times were reversed.

The Petit Champlain district to the south has been able to preserve its original character without extensive reconstruction. On the narrow Rue du Petit-Champlain, a pedestrian zone following the foot of the steep cliff, there are several residential and commercial buildings from the late 17th and early 18th centuries. This includes the house of French explorer Louis Joliet, built in 1683. Several dozen outside staircases lead from the lower to the upper town, most of which have wooden steps. Stairs have played an important role in the life of the city since the 17th century, as they allow significant shortcuts in steep terrain. The oldest and best known is the Escalier Casse-cou ("neckbreaker staircase") from the Quartier du Petit Champlain up to the Parc Montmorency, built around 1660. A funicular, the Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec , has been running between the Lower and Upper Towns since 1907 .

Historic district

In 1963, a law passed by the provincial parliament declared the old town a historic district (arrondissement historique) , and a year later its periphery as well. Since then, strict regulations have been in place to preserve the historical building fabric. Due to its great historical and architectural importance as the only walled settlement north of Mexico, UNESCO declared the old town of Québec a World Heritage Site on December 3, 1985 .

List of places of interest

Map of Vieux-Québec
  1. 57-63, rue Saint-Louis
  2. Old customs house
  3. Cercle de la Garrison de Quebec
  4. Château Frontenac
  5. Holy Trinity Cathedral
  6. Dufferin terrace
  7. Edifice Price
  8. Espace 400e Bell
  9. Funiculaire du Vieux-Québec
  10. Hotel Clarendon
  11. Hotel de Ville
  12. Hôtel-Dieu de Quebec
  13. Jesuit chapel
  14. Maison François-Xavier-Garneau
  15. Maison historique Chevalier
  16. Maison Loyola
  17. Maison Maillou
  18. Maison Montcalm
  19. Maison Sewell
  20. Maison Têtu
  21. Museum of the Civilization
  22. Musée de l'Amérique francophone
  23. Place Royale Museum
  24. Naval Museum of Quebec
  25. Morrin Center
  26. New customs house
  27. Notre-Dame de Quebec
  28. Notre-Dame-des-Victoires
  29. Palais de Justice
  30. Parc Montmorency
  31. Place d'Armes
  32. Place Royale
  33. Petit Champlain district
  34. Séminaire de Québec
  35. Quebec City Walls
  36. Location of the Château Saint-Louis
  37. Ursuline Monastery
  38. Quebec Citadel


  • Commission des biens culturels du Québec (ed.): Les chemins de la mémoire, Monuments et sites historiques du Québec . tape 1 . Les Publications du Québec, Québec 1990, ISBN 2-551-14145-1 , pp. 77-108 .
  • Commission des biens culturels du Québec (ed.): Empreintes & mémoire, l'arrondissement historique du Vieux-Québec . Les Publications du Québec, Québec 2007, ISBN 2-551-19762-7 .

Web links

Commons : Vieux-Québec  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Site patrimonial du Vieux-Québec. In: Répertoire du patrimoine culturel du Québec. Ministère de culture et des communications, 2014, accessed December 1, 2015 (French).
  2. ^ Jean-Marie Lebel, Alain Roy: Québec 1900–2000, le siècle d'une capitale . Éditions Multimondes, Québec 2000, ISBN 2-89544-008-5 , pp. 41-42 ( online ).
  3. Sébastien Couvrette: Place-Royale à Québec, l'image d'une ville. Encyclopédie du patrimoine culturel de l'Amérique française, accessed on December 1, 2015 (French).
  4. ^ Rémi Guertin: Escaliers de Québec. Encyclopédie du patrimoine culturel de l'Amérique française, accessed on December 1, 2015 (French).

Coordinates: 46 ° 48 ′ 42.2 "  N , 71 ° 12 ′ 25.7"  W.