La Croix-Rousse

La Croix-Rousse is a hill in the town of Lyon, France, as well as the name of a quarter located on this hill (divided into two halves - the pentes, a part of the town's 1st arrondissement, and the plateau, in its 4th arrondissement). It is 254m at its peak. It is near the Place des Terreaux. The quarter is heavily marked by silk industry (Lyons was the centre of silk manufacture in Europe).

The Croix-Rousse  "working hill", counterpart to Fourvière, the "praying hill", across the river, developed in the early 19th century on lands once belonging to religious communities. The slopes of Croix-Rousse hill are traditionally distinct from the plateau. The slopes are within the territory designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage site in 1998.

The steepness of the slopes had an impact on the way streets were built, either following the curve of the hill or striking straight up, with some portions of the road transformed into steps. The old zones with narrow streets between tall buildings criss-crossed by "traboule" covered passageways, stand in striking contrast to the modern areas. The Canuts  (silk workers) occupied the buildings designed as live-in workshops with high ceilings to accommodate the bulky weaving looms and the new mechanical looms invented by Jacquard. They also feature many tall windows to bring in as much light as possible. North-south passages, the famous "traboules", were created to facilitate foot traffic.

The Voraces building is particularly remarkable for its spectacular stairway of surprisingly modern design.Montée de la Grande Côte, one of the main roads between the center of Lyon and the Croix-Rousse district, has been lined with houses since the Middle Ages and has preserved its appearance in the lower section of the street, such as it was in the 19th century. The upper part of the street has been completely re-developed.

The Amphitheater of the Three Gauls, a remnant of the Roman occupation of this quarter, was built circa 19 AD and is the oldest Gallo-Roman amphitheater. The Grenier d’Abondance, built in 1720 to store grain to feed the city, is now the home of the Regional Department of Cultural Affairs.

The Subsistances  , formerly the convent of Saint Marie aux Chaînes in the 17th century, has been renovated and transformed into a creative art complex.

Villemanzy Residence, once the monastery of the Ladies of Saint Elisabeth, then a barracks and military hospital, was transformed in 1988 into a residence for visiting foreign researchers, and offers a magnificent view over the Rhone.
On the west side of the hill, the church Saint Bruno des Chartreux is a fine example of French baroque architecture, with its dome built in the 18th century by Soufflot. It is the only remaining convent of the many which occupied the hill prior to the Revolution.

Renovation work and urban planning have given the quarter a more lively atmosphere and improved cultural and economic vitality. Clothing wholesalers thrive on the lower slopes while on the plateau the Maison des Canuts carries on the memory and homage to the silk industry by handing-down its know-how to new generations.

The open-air market, Fall "Chestnut" Fair, authentic bistros and squares devoted to the game of "boules lyonnaises" (bowls), all contribute to the furthering of popular tradition. Though there are few major edifices, the maze of "traboules", or passageways, found throughout the area constitute an unusual heritage resource. An impressive mural fresco on Boulevard des Canuts stands as a monument to local indentity                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
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