Thiers - Encyclopedia

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THIERS, a town of central France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Puy-de-Dome, 24 m. E.N.E. of Clermont-Ferrand, on the railway between that town and St Etienne. Pop. (1906) town, 12,601; commune, 17,418.17,418. Thiers is most picturesquely situated on the side of a hill at the foot of which the Durolle rapidly descends through a narrow valley into the Dore, a tributary of the Allier. The streets rising in steep rows contain a large number of stone and wooden houses, some of which date to the 15th century. A fine view of the Plain of Limagne and the Dome mountain is obtainable from the terraces. The church of St Genes was built in 575 by Avitus, bishop of Clermont, and rebuilt in the 12th century. It has some curious mosaic work of the Merovingian period and a fine tomb of the 13th century. The church of Le Moutier, which formerly formed part of a Benedictine monastery, dates chiefly from the i 1th century. Thiers is the seat of a subprefect and has tribunals of first instance and of commerce, a chamber of commerce, a board of trade arbitration, a communal college, a commercial and industrial school, and a branch of the Bank of France. Its special industry is the manufacture of cutlery, which employs some 12,000 hands in the town and its vicinity. The manufacture of handles and buttons of bone, pasteboard, stamping, hand-made and other papers and machinery are also carried on.

Thiers was sacked about 531 by the soldiers of Thierry, son of Clovis. About the same period Gregory of Tours speaks of a wooden chapel which may have occupied the site of the present church of Le Moutier. The commercial importance of the town was much increased in the 16th century when the manufacture of cutlery was introduced from the neighbouring town of Chateldon.

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