Amiens (amjɛ̃) is a city and commune in northern France, 120 km north of Paris. It is the capital of the Somme department in Picardie.
The Paleolithic culture named Acheulean
was named for its first identified site, in Saint-Acheul, a suburb of Amiens. Amiens, the Roman Samarobriva
, was the central settlement of the Ambiani
, one of the principal tribes of Gaul
, who were issuing coinage, probably from Amiens, in the first century BC. By tradition, it was at the gates of Amiens that Saint Martin of Tours
, at the time still a Roman soldier, shared his cloak with a naked beggar. Saint Honorius (Honoré)
(d. 600 AD) was the seventh bishop of the city.
Amiens was later the capital of Picardy.
During World War II, on 18 February 1944, Nazi-occupied Amiens was the site of Operation Jericho, a British operation which freed 258 people by bombing Amiens prison.
Amiens Cathedral (a World Heritage Site) is the tallest of the large 'classic' Gothic churches of the 13th century and is the largest in France of its kind. After a fire destroyed the former cathedral, the new nave was begun in 1220 - and finished in 1247. Amiens Cathedral is notable for the coherence of its plan, the beauty of its three-tier interior elevation, the particularly fine display of sculptures on the principal façade and in the south transept, and the labyrinth, and other inlays of its floor. It is described as the "Parthenon of Gothic architecture," and by John Ruskin as "Gothic, clear of Roman tradition and of Arabian taint, Gothic pure, authoritative, unsurpassable, and unaccusable."
Amiens is also known for the hortillonnages, gardens on small islands in the marshland along the Somme River, surrounded by a grid network of man-made canals.