Population : 3100
Altitude : 120m
Services : Murviel has a number of cafés and supermarkets.
Postcode : 34490
Sites of interest
The fortified village, classed as a “circulade” – see Introduction to Circulades
The 15th century church contains exceptional classified works, including an entombment, a listed Historical Monument. The original sundial is yet another signpost on the walk through Murviel’s past.
The 16th century feudal castle of Murviel-Lès-Béziers gives an impression of power, from whichever angle you look at it.
The name originates from Muro vetulo (1039), composed of muri : the walls (les murs), and vetuli : old (vieux); Murviel derives from the plural muri vetuli : the old walls (les vieux murs).
The strategic strengths offered by the location attracted its first settlers. Later the Romans built a “castrum” (fortified place) here to control the outlet of the Orb out onto the Béziers plain and the ancient Béziers – Cahors road (the link between the sea and mountains).
This military might encouraged the economic development of the territory and the fame of its lords, whose line continued into feudal times, when its importance grew yet further.
The first lords encircled the local hill with a crown of ramparts, covering four hectares. Until the 19th century the ramparts provided shelter from war, banditry and even epidemics, confining the villagers to a life of enclosure. This led to the building of courtyards and overlapping houses, some even covering the streets-cum-porches.
The final result can be visited today by following a sign-posted walk. From the castle terrace the extensive panoramic view proves just how strategic it was and explains its past rapid development.
The centre of the village is listed as being of historical interest.