Nîmes (nēm) [key], city (1990 pop. 133,607), capital of Gard dept., S France, in Cévennes. An important market town and rail hub, its products include machinery, textiles and clothing, and tinware. An old Gallic town, it became Roman c.120 B.C. As Nemausus it was an important city, one of the finest of Narbonensis province (see Gaul). United to the French crown in 1258, it later became a stronghold of the Huguenots but suffered greatly from the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (1685). Nîmes is famous for its remarkable collection of Roman relics. The magnificent Roman arena (1st cent. A.D.), seating up to 24,000, is still in use. The well-preserved Maison Carée [square house], a Roman temple (1st or 2d cent. A.D.), one of the finest extant examples of Roman architecture, houses a museum of Roman antiquities. Other Roman relics are the temple of Diana (2d cent. A.D.), a watchtower, and the nearby Pont du Gard.
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