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Saint-Maurice

Saint-Maurice, or Saint-Maurice-en-Valais, is a municipality and district capital of the district of Saint-Maurice in the canton of Valais in Switzerland. On 1 January 2013 the former municipality of Mex merged into the municipality of Saint-Maurice.It is the site of the Roman outpost of Agaunum and the mediaeval St. Maurice's Abbey, which has become a famous high school in Switzerland (Collège de Saint-Maurice).Saint-Maurice is located at the entrance a pass leading to the upper part of the Rhône valley. As such, it has a strategic importance, and defence work were built from the 15th century to control this access. The Fortress Saint-Maurice was constructed in the surrounding mountainsides from 1880 through 1995.HistorySaint-Maurice is first mentioned in 200 as Acaun Gal. In respect to Saint Maurice, the name was changed from Acaunum to Saint-Maurice in 1003.Some traces of a Bronze Age settlement were found at the foot of the rocky spur in town. There was a Roman era town at Saint-Maurice, but very little is known about the actual layout of it. There was a customs post at Acaunum, where an import and export tariff of 2.5% was levied. The town probably had a shrine to water nymphs. According to tradition, Saint Maurice and his southern Egyptian companions of the Theban Legion were martyred in Acaunum during the reign of Maximian (286-310). Around 360-370 Theodul, the first Bishop of Valais, built a basilica in Acaunum in their honor. The basilica became a popular pilgrimage site. In 515, the King of Burgundy Sigismund founded the Abbey, which he endowed with rich land.
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