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Cularo was the name of the Gallic city which evolved into modern Grenoble, until 381 when it was renamed Gratianopolis in honor of Roman emperor Gratian.

Model of the Gallo-Roman Walls that surrounded Cularo.

The first reference to Grenoble dates back to July 43 BC.[1] At that time, the small town was called Cularo and had been founded by the Gallic people known as the Allobroges. In 292 the western emperor Maximian built walls around the town after elevating it to the rank of “city”. These Gallo-Roman walls protected the urban area and served as a status of Civitas. The vestiges of the Gallo-Roman wall are now a landmark of this era.

In 381, wishing to thank and honor the emperor Gratian for having created there a bishopric, the inhabitants of Cularo renamed their town Gratianopolis. That name would subsequently evolve into Grenoble.

Dating back from the Gallo-Roman period (4th century), the Saint-Laurent crypt and the Grenoble baptistery have been preserved to this day; the latter had been used until the 9th century and was rediscovered in 1989 during the construction of the tramway tracks and excavated until 1996. Several sections of the Gallo-Roman city wall can also be seen in the old town, especially in rue Lafayette.


  1. ^ Ad Familiares, 10, 23 Letter 876

Further reading[edit]

  • William Smith, ed. (1872) [1854]. "Cularo". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography. London: John Murray. hdl:2027/hvd.ah5cuq.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°11′32″N 5°43′50″E / 45.19222°N 5.73056°E / 45.19222; 5.73056