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Puy-en-Velay, Le

Puy-en-Velay, Le (lə püēˈ-äN-vəlāˈ) [key], city (1990 pop. 23,434), capital of Haute-Loire dept., S central France. Le Puy-en-Velay is the center of an old lace industry, as well as traditional brewing and leather industries. It was an old capital of Velay and an episcopal see from the 6th cent. The city grew after its shrine to the Virgin became (10th cent.) a major place of pilgrimage. The modern section of the city lies below a bare rock, which, towering almost 500 ft (152 m) above the city, is capped by a bronze statue of the Virgin. Immediately at the foot of the rock lies the old city, with a cathedral (12th cent.) of extraordinarily daring construction, an 11th-century baptistery, and numerous Gothic buildings. Atop a lesser, needle-shaped rock is the Romanesque Church of St. Michel d'Aiguilhe, and at its foot is an 11th-century chapel.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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