Béziers (bāzyāˈ) [key], city (1990 pop. 72,362), Hérault dept., S France, in Languedoc. A communications and industrial center with an important trade in wines and liqueurs, it has ironworks, breweries, and factories making a great variety of products. An episcopal see from the 4th cent. to 1802, Béziers was involved in numerous religious wars. During the Albigensian crusade (see under Albigenses) it was taken (1209) by Simon de Montfort; a horrible massacre followed. Béziers has a noted cathedral (13th–14th cent.) and some old churches.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.