Bastia

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For the Argentinian footballer, see Adrián Bastía.
Bastia
View of St Jean Baptiste Cathedral from Bastia Port
View of St Jean Baptiste Cathedral from Bastia Port
Coat of arms of Bastia
Coat of arms
Bastia is located in France
Bastia
Bastia
Coordinates: 42°42′03″N 9°27′01″E / 42.7008°N 9.4503°E / 42.7008; 9.4503Coordinates: 42°42′03″N 9°27′01″E / 42.7008°N 9.4503°E / 42.7008; 9.4503
Country France
Region Corsica
Department Haute-Corse
Arrondissement Bastia
Intercommunality Bastia
Government
 • Mayor (2014–2020) Gilles Simeoni
Area
 • Land1 19.38 km2 (7.48 sq mi)
Population (2008)
 • Population2 43,477
 • Population2 density 2,200/km2 (5,800/sq mi)
INSEE/Postal code 2B033 / 20200
Elevation 0–963 m (0–3,159 ft)
(avg. 30 m or 98 ft)

1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Bastia (French pronunciation: ​[bas.tja], Corsican and Italian pronunciation: [basˈtia]) is a commune in the Haute-Corse department of France located in the northeast of the island of Corsica at the base of Cap Corse. It is also the second-largest city in Corsica after Ajaccio and the capital of the department.

Bastia is the principal port of the island and its principal commercial town, especially famous for its wines. According to the 2006 census, Bastia has 43,577 inhabitants. Approximately 10% of the population are immigrants. The unemployment rate in the commune has persistently been one of the highest in France, standing at over 20% in 2004.

Geography[edit]

Located in the North-East of Corsica at the base of the Cap Corse, between the sea and the mountain, Bastia is the principal port of the island. The city is located 35 km (22 mi) away from the Northern tip of the Cap Corse, 50 km (31 mi) West from Elba, an Italian island, and 90 km (56 mi) away from continental Italy which can be seen a few days per year when visibility is excellent.

Bastia seen from the "Pigno"
The city of Bastia as seen from the "Pigno": notice the lack of constructions in the foreground and the city along the coast in the background

In terms of geography, Bastia is defined by its position between the sea and the mountain. The city is located on the Eastern side of the "Serra di Pignu", a 960 m high mountain (see photo opposite). This steep mountain and several hills in the city shape a relief typical of the Cap Corse. This pronounced landscape caused the city to develop mostly on a coastal band about 1.5 km (0.9 mi) wide, which is a very limited part of the 19.38 km2 (7.48 sq mi) that the commune has.

Above all, Bastia is a port, and the sea has of course a significant role in the spatial organization of the city. Bastia possesses nowadays three different ports. The old port ("Vieux Port" in French and "Porto Vecchio" in Corsican), located in a remarkable and narrow cove, offers good natural shelter against the climatic hazards of the Mediterranean Sea. Thus, it was at the core of the initial development of the city. Nowadays, many pleasure and fishing boats are still there, but it is not as economically vital than the other more modern ports, although its touristic and aesthetic charm almost makes the old port the official emblem of the city. In fact, many cafés, bars and restaurants have moved to its docks to which access is granted by the city for pedestrians only during summer evenings.

A bit more to the North is located the commercial and ferry port. As a major economic asset of the city, the "port de commerce" is the pulse of the city. It is even more so during the summer when ferry arrivals and departures of thousands of passengers and cars can sometimes cause long traffic jams along the North-South axis, the national road RN193. In front of the commercial port, the large Saint-Nicolas square represents the heart of the city. Just North of the commercial port, the Toga marina, named after a city neighborhood, is a harbor for leisure boating activities like sailing and yachting. There are also some bars, restaurants and night clubs on its docks.

Thus, Bastia is logically organized on a relatively narrow North-South axis which can make access to the city center difficult under particular circumstances. Nowadays, the city center is mainly composed of the "citadelle", the stronghold, also called Terra-Nova, with the Genoese Governors' Palace, the old port and its popular quarter and the market plaza, and finally the ensemble of buildings along the "Boulevard Paoli", the main commercial street of the city, which lies from the Justice Court to the Avenue Maréchal Sebastiani.

Durings the last few decades, Bastia and its region have experienced a strong demographic growth, which has cause somewhat of a suburban crawl in the South of the city, because of the congestion of the city center.

Climate[edit]

Bastia possesses a Mediterranean climate. The average annual temperature is 15.5 °C (60 °F) and there are about five days of frost per year. Winds are frequent and violent, precipitation copious, but there are also 240 sunny days on average per year

Climate data for Bastia
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 13.6
(56.5)
13.8
(56.8)
15.6
(60.1)
17.8
(64)
22.0
(71.6)
25.8
(78.4)
29.1
(84.4)
29.3
(84.7)
25.8
(78.4)
21.9
(71.4)
17.4
(63.3)
14.5
(58.1)
20.55
(68.97)
Daily mean °C (°F) 9.1
(48.4)
9.4
(48.9)
10.8
(51.4)
12.9
(55.2)
16.3
(61.3)
20.0
(68)
23.2
(73.8)
23.3
(73.9)
20.6
(69.1)
17.1
(62.8)
12.9
(55.2)
10.1
(50.2)
15.48
(59.85)
Average low °C (°F) 5.1
(41.2)
4.9
(40.8)
6.7
(44.1)
8.8
(47.8)
12.4
(54.3)
16.0
(60.8)
19.0
(66.2)
19.4
(66.9)
16.5
(61.7)
13.3
(55.9)
9.2
(48.6)
6.3
(43.3)
11.47
(52.63)
Precipitation mm (inches) 67
(2.64)
57
(2.24)
60
(2.36)
76
(2.99)
50
(1.97)
41
(1.61)
13
(0.51)
21
(0.83)
81
(3.19)
127
(5)
114
(4.49)
93
(3.66)
800
(31.49)
Mean monthly sunshine hours 134 158 192 214 268 296 345 304 232 176 133 128 2,580
Source: Quid 2004, page 618 and Météo-France, data for 1981-2010

History[edit]

The citadel, built by the Genoese

Before the occupation of Corsica by the Genoese, Cardo was a large city. Around the city were little villages where the fishermen of Cardo lived. This little port was called Porto Cardo, meaning "the port of Cardo."

The Genoese felt the need for shelter from the sea storms and in 1380 began to construct, under Governor Leonello Lomellini, a bastiglia, Italian for stronghold or citadel. With time, the bastiglia (Bastia) became more prosperous and important than Cardo. Bastia was the capital of Corsica until 1791.

In 1794, during a war with Revolutionary France, British troops under Admiral Nelson and Lieutenant-General David Dundas briefly captured Bastia.

Sights[edit]

  • The Museum of Corsica
  • The former palace of the Genoese governors, which now accommodates a museum of Corsican ethnography. The museum covers many topics: geology, flora, history, arts and folk traditions, contemporary art.
  • The fortress with its keep and its 16th-century bell tower protects Terra-Nova and offers great views over the old port, Terra Vecchia, the mountain and the coast.

Education[edit]

An institute of research of the engineering school Arts et Métiers ParisTech settled in Bastia in 2000. This institute offers Graduate and Doctoral programs in the domain of sustainable energy.

Transportation[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1800 11,336 —    
1806 7,922 −30.1%
1821 9,316 +17.6%
1831 9,531 +2.3%
1836 13,610 +42.8%
1841 14,568 +7.0%
1846 15,004 +3.0%
1851 15,984 +6.5%
1856 16,002 +0.1%
1861 19,304 +20.6%
1866 21,535 +11.6%
1872 17,850 −17.1%
1876 17,572 −1.6%
1881 20,100 +14.4%
1886 20,765 +3.3%
1891 23,397 +12.7%
1896 22,552 −3.6%
1901 25,425 +12.7%
1906 27,338 +7.5%
1911 29,412 +7.6%
1921 33,094 +12.5%
1926 36,376 +9.9%
1931 44,628 +22.7%
1936 52,208 +17.0%
1946 49,327 −5.5%
1954 42,729 −13.4%
1962 31,375 −26.6%
1968 38,746 +23.5%
1975 42,810 +10.5%
1982 44,020 +2.8%
1990 37,845 −14.0%
1999 37,884 +0.1%
2008 43,477 +14.8%

Road[edit]

The main road to Bastia is the RN 193.

Railway[edit]

Bastia's train station, which belongs to Corsican Railways, is situated in the city center and connects Bastia with Ajaccio and Calvi.

Seaport[edit]

In terms of passengers, Bastia is the first French port of the Mediterranean with more than 2.4 million passengers in 2007. It is the second French port behind Calais (15 million passengers).

Airport[edit]

The Bastia – Poretta Airport is located 16 km (10 mi) south of the city, in the town of Lucciana.

Personalities[edit]

Bastia was the birthplace of:

Twin towns[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]