An almond-shaped village : Thoard

An almond-shaped village : Thoard

Dominating the Duyes valley, the village of Thoard is well representative of the grouped habitats, or the settlements typical of Haute-Provence. Perched on a peak, it was for centuries a formidable defensive post. The etymology seems to attest to this. The village name, Thoard, originates from "turris ardua" which means high tower.

At the top of the rocky outcrop, the medieval tower (13th century) crowned by a bell tower is next to the church of Saint Blaise (Saint Blaze), which was itself close to the castle of the ancient powerful Lord. The castle was largely destroyed in the last century. The three traditional authorities are represented there: military, religious and civil.

Around these buildings, the streets are organised, more or less, in a concentric way, integrating the hazards of the sloping terrain. The blocks of houses are shaped like an almond, with the point facing the valley, like the mandorla (an almond-shaped frame) surrounding Christ in medieval representations.

To the south, numerous gardens follow the line of the old ramparts that have long disappeared. The houses are tall and imposing, very tightly packed, built of stone, sometimes slightly curved to fit the shape of the surroundings. The large number of storeys - up to five - can be explained by times of strong demographic growth in a village surrounded by ramparts which could only develop in height. In 1728, Thoard had 256 heads of household and only 160 dwellings.



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