Four neighbourhoods – four gates
The historical centre of Manosque underwent few changes between the Middle Ages and the French Revolution. The first tangible traces of human presence on the Manosque territory date back to the 2nd or 3rd century of our era. Signs of life unearthed during archaeological digs showed the presence of vestiges near Our Lady of Romigier church, situated in the historical centre of Manosque. This settlement, “the roots” of Manosque, existed continously until the Middle Ages, when it was called a “bourg” (burgum) or town. Other castle habitations were constructed on the hills, but they were eventually absorbed by the lower part of the village. They were the castrum of Mont d’Or, Toutes Aures, and Montaigu. In the Middle Ages, Manosque was divided into 4 neighbourhoods: Palais, Martels, Payans and Hébréards. The total population was nearly 5,000. There were four doors, situated at the 4 cardinal points, each giving access to a different neighbourhood. Two of them still exist today. The south gate is called la Saunerie which means “the salt door”. Built at the end of the 14th century, it is still in its original state. As its name suggests, the door was used to stock salt. The Soubeyran door is situated to the north of the medieval wall, and is mentioned as early as 1216 in the archives, as the portali superiori. The current vestiges date back to the 14th century. The general appearance of the city hardly changed until the earthquake in 1708, when all the houses and the hospital were damaged. The hospital was rebuilt in the middle of the 18th century. It was the first building to be constructed outside the fortified walls.