Cahors (käôrˈ) [key], town (1991 pop. 20,787), capital of Lot dept., S central France, in Quercy, on the Lot River. A commercial center, it has canneries, distilleries, and factories making a great variety of products. It was an important Roman town, an early episcopal see, and the capital of Quercy. It was ruled by its bishops until the 14th cent. and was one of the major banking centers of medieval Europe; the Cahorsin money lenders were among the most famous. The Univ. of Cahors, founded in 1322 by Pope John XXII (who was born there), was united in 1751 with that of Toulouse. The old part of Cahors is of great architectural interest. Part of the medieval fortifications, including a fortified bridge, still stand. The Cathedral of St. Étienne (12th–15th cent.), with Byzantine cupolas, and the palace of John XXII (begun 14th cent.; never completed) are among its many edifices.
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