Visible from afar, a real signal from the city, the octagonal tower rises to its highest point. It was built on a tower of the rampart of the old Gallic oppidum.
In the beginning, it was a tower in the shape of a sugar loaf, built in dry stones, similar to that of the oppidum near Nages. With a maximum height of 18 m, it is part of the rampart built in the 3rd century BC.
The Roman construction completely encompassed the dry stone tower.
In 1601, François Traucat, gardener Nîmes (who inaugurated in France the cultivation of the mulberry tree for silkworms), obtained from King Henry IV permission to search the tower, convinced by one of the predictions of Nostradamus that there discover a Gallic treasure. It was on this occasion that the tower was emptied. Thus, the void that we encounter today entering the Tower Magne restores, in negative, the shape and volume of the Gallic tower.
By doubling its height (it goes from 18m to 36m) Emperor Augustus makes it a symbol of Roman power. It also emphasizes the preponderant place of the colony of Nîmes, capital of Arécomiques, on the territory of Volques. The tower also reported the presence of the dynastic sanctuary around the spring at the foot of the hill at the beginning of the Augustan era.
Octagonal in shape, it originally consisted of three levels above an irregular bedrock. Today the last level has disappeared but the tower still rises to 32.70 m. A bend, 70 m long, of which it remains the south and part of the last arch, led to the walkway located on the first floor. From there, you could reach the curtain, which was at the same level, north, and west. Access to the terrace, which originally crowned the whole, was done by a staircase inside the tower.
The facades above the basement have no openings. The last two levels were decorated with Tuscan pilasters and the last one, which has almost entirely disappeared, of engaged columns, of which we can still see two bases.
The Magne Tower, the great tower, is the only tower of the ancient Augustan enclosure remained standing. When the city abandons the heights, however, it continues to play a military role.
During the wars of religion, it is included in a small fort which was demolished after the peace of Ales in 1629. In the 19th century, the telegraph was installed at the top of the tower. From its terrace, it offers the visitor today a striking panorama of the city.
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