Vitry-en-Artois is a commune and chief town of a canton in the Pas-de-Calais département in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region of France.
A farming and light industrial town situated some northeast of Arras, at the junction of the N50, D39 and the D42 roads. The river Scarpe
flows through the town, which is also served by the SNCF
railway. The World War II
German airfield was put to commercial use as the local aerodrome
The origin of the name comes from the Celtic
, ‘’Vic’’ which means "castle" and ‘Ac’’ which means "at the water's edge". It appears later as "Victoriacum" mentioned in the 7th century.
Middle stone age
tools have been found in the area.
It was occupied by the Romans
, until around the year 360 AD when Saint-Martin built a church here.
has revealed an isolated circular ditch monument at Vitry. The Merovingian villa
of Vitry was an important Neustrian
seat, preferred to Arras
. At Vitry, even as the nobles of Neustria
were raising Sigibert I
in triumph on his shield, he was murdered by hirelings of his brother Chilperic
's third wife, Fredegunda
, November-December 575 . His son, the infant Clotaire II
was taken to safety from the palace at Cambrai
to Vitry to be raised in seclusion and security, according to Gregory of Tours
In the Middle Ages
, Vitry became a strategic place, because the river could be used to flood the defensive border of the city of Douai
and ensure the functioning of its windmills
During the Franco-Prussian war
of 1870-1871, French General Faidherbe
briefly established his headquarters in Vitry-en-Artois (from 25 to 31 December 1870) after the battle of Pont-Noyelles
During the First World War
, the population took refuge in the network of shelters and tunnels of the town. The destruction sustained on April 12, 1917 left the town completely destroyed, with 768 buildings gone and only 5 left standing.
On 23 September 1920, the town received the Croix de guerre
Places of interest
- The church of St.Martin, rebuilt, along with much of the village, after World War I.
- The war memorial.
Communes of the Pas-de-Calais department