Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Gap

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

GAP (the ancient Vapincum), a town of France, capital of an arrondissement and also of the department of Hautes Alpes, is situated on the right bank of the Luye, 46 miles S.E. of Grenoble. It stands in a wide valley about 2400 feet above sea-level, and is surrounded by an amphitheatre of hills, over which tower the snow-covered mountains of the Alps. In the vicinity are fine walnut avenues and vineyards, but the town, with the exception of a few modern houses, is badly built and has a somewhat miserable appearance. The chief public buildings are the Gothic cathedral, containing the tomb of the celebrated Constable de Lesdiguières, the court-house, the town-hall, the bishop’s palace, the barracks, and the theatre. In 1860 a statue in black marble was erected in front of the barracks to Baron de Ladoucette, a former prefect of the Hautes Alps. Gap is the seat of a court of primary jurisdiction, and has a communal college, a diocesan seminary, a public library, and a museum of antiquities, natural history, botany, and geology. The manufactures comprise woollen, linen, and silk goods, leather, and dressed skins. In the vicinity are some marble quarries, which were known to the Romans. The town became the seat of a bishopric in the 4th century, and its bishops were for a long period styled princes and counts of Gap. In former times it suffered greatly from the devastations of the Lombards and Moors, from the plague, and from earthquakes; and in 1692 it was almost burned to the ground by Duke Victor Amadeus of Savoy. The population in 1876 was 7249.