Le Mans
Overview
 
Le Mans is a city in France, located on the Sarthe River
Sarthe River
The Sarthe is a river in western France. Together with the river Mayenne it forms the river Maine, which is a tributary to the river Loire.Its source is in the Orne département, near Moulins-la-Marche...

. Traditionally the capital of the province of Maine
Maine (province)
Le Maine is one of the traditional provinces of France . It corresponds to the old county of Maine, with its center, the city of Le Mans.-Location:...

, it is now the capital of the Sarthe
Sarthe
Sarthe is a French department, named after the Sarthe River.- History :The department was created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790, pursuant to the law of December 22, 1789, starting from a part of the province of Maine which was divided into two departments, Sarthe to the east and...

 department and the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese of Le Mans. Le Mans is a part of the Pays de la Loire
Pays de la Loire
Pays de la Loire is one of the 27 regions of France. It is one of the regions created in the late 20th century to serve as a zone of influence for its capital, Nantes, one of a handful so-called "balancing metropolises" ¹...

 region
Régions of France
France is divided into 27 administrative regions , 22 of which are in Metropolitan France, and five of which are overseas. Corsica is a territorial collectivity , but is considered a region in mainstream usage, and is even shown as such on the INSEE website...

.

Its inhabitants are called Manceaux and Mancelles. It has been host to the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans
24 Hours of Le Mans
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world's oldest sports car race in endurance racing, held annually since near the town of Le Mans, France. Commonly known as the Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency, race teams have to balance speed against the cars' ability to run for 24 hours without sustaining...

 sports car race since 1923.
First mentioned by Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

, the Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 city Vindinium was the capital of the Aulerci
Aulerci
Aulerci is a generic name for some of the Celtic peoples of ancient Gaul, which included several Celtic tribes. Julius Caesar names the Aulerci with the Veneti and the other maritime states. In B. G. vii...

, a sub tribe of the Aedui
Aedui
Aedui, Haedui or Hedui , were a Gallic people of Gallia Lugdunensis, who inhabited the country between the Arar and Liger , in today's France. Their territory thus included the greater part of the modern departments of Saône-et-Loire, Côte-d'Or and Nièvre.-Geography:The country of the Aedui is...

.
Encyclopedia
Le Mans is a city in France, located on the Sarthe River
Sarthe River
The Sarthe is a river in western France. Together with the river Mayenne it forms the river Maine, which is a tributary to the river Loire.Its source is in the Orne département, near Moulins-la-Marche...

. Traditionally the capital of the province of Maine
Maine (province)
Le Maine is one of the traditional provinces of France . It corresponds to the old county of Maine, with its center, the city of Le Mans.-Location:...

, it is now the capital of the Sarthe
Sarthe
Sarthe is a French department, named after the Sarthe River.- History :The department was created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790, pursuant to the law of December 22, 1789, starting from a part of the province of Maine which was divided into two departments, Sarthe to the east and...

 department and the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese of Le Mans. Le Mans is a part of the Pays de la Loire
Pays de la Loire
Pays de la Loire is one of the 27 regions of France. It is one of the regions created in the late 20th century to serve as a zone of influence for its capital, Nantes, one of a handful so-called "balancing metropolises" ¹...

 region
Régions of France
France is divided into 27 administrative regions , 22 of which are in Metropolitan France, and five of which are overseas. Corsica is a territorial collectivity , but is considered a region in mainstream usage, and is even shown as such on the INSEE website...

.

Its inhabitants are called Manceaux and Mancelles. It has been host to the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans
24 Hours of Le Mans
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world's oldest sports car race in endurance racing, held annually since near the town of Le Mans, France. Commonly known as the Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency, race teams have to balance speed against the cars' ability to run for 24 hours without sustaining...

 sports car race since 1923.

History

First mentioned by Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

, the Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 city Vindinium was the capital of the Aulerci
Aulerci
Aulerci is a generic name for some of the Celtic peoples of ancient Gaul, which included several Celtic tribes. Julius Caesar names the Aulerci with the Veneti and the other maritime states. In B. G. vii...

, a sub tribe of the Aedui
Aedui
Aedui, Haedui or Hedui , were a Gallic people of Gallia Lugdunensis, who inhabited the country between the Arar and Liger , in today's France. Their territory thus included the greater part of the modern departments of Saône-et-Loire, Côte-d'Or and Nièvre.-Geography:The country of the Aedui is...

. Le Mans is also known as Civitas Cenomanorum (City of the Cenomani
Cenomani
The Cenomani or Aulerci Cenomani were a Gallic people, a branch of the Aulerci in Gallia Celtica, whose territory corresponded generally to Maine in the modern départment of Sarthe, west of the Carnutes between the Seine and the Loire...

). Their city, seized by the Romans in 47 BC, lies in the ancient Roman province
Roman province
In Ancient Rome, a province was the basic, and, until the Tetrarchy , largest territorial and administrative unit of the empire's territorial possessions outside of Italy...

 of Gallia Lugdunensis
Gallia Lugdunensis
Gallia Lugdunensis was a province of the Roman Empire in what is now the modern country of France, part of the Celtic territory of Gaul. It is named after its capital Lugdunum , possibly Roman Europe's major city west of Italy, and a major imperial mint...

. An amphitheatre
Amphitheatre
An amphitheatre is an open-air venue used for entertainment and performances.There are two similar, but distinct, types of structure for which the word "amphitheatre" is used: Ancient Roman amphitheatres were large central performance spaces surrounded by ascending seating, and were commonly used...

 built in the third century AD is still visible, but the thermae
Thermae
In ancient Rome, thermae and balnea were facilities for bathing...

were demolished during the crisis of the third century
Crisis of the Third Century
The Crisis of the Third Century was a period in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed under the combined pressures of invasion, civil war, plague, and economic depression...

 to build the city's walls, which remain some of the most complete circuit of Gallo-Roman city walling that survives.
Gregory of Tours
Gregory of Tours
Saint Gregory of Tours was a Gallo-Roman historian and Bishop of Tours, which made him a leading prelate of Gaul. He was born Georgius Florentius, later adding the name Gregorius in honour of his maternal great-grandfather...

 mentions a Frankish
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

 sub-king Rigomer, who was killed by King Clovis I
Clovis I
Clovis Leuthwig was the first King of the Franks to unite all the Frankish tribes under one ruler, changing the leadership from a group of royal chieftains, to rule by kings, ensuring that the kingship was held by his heirs. He was also the first Catholic King to rule over Gaul . He was the son...

 in his campaign to unite the Frankish territories.

As the principal city of Maine, Le Mans was the stage for struggles in the eleventh century between the counts of Anjou
Anjou
Anjou is a former county , duchy and province centred on the city of Angers in the lower Loire Valley of western France. It corresponds largely to the present-day département of Maine-et-Loire...

 and the dukes of Normandy
Normandy
Normandy is a geographical region corresponding to the former Duchy of Normandy. It is in France.The continental territory covers 30,627 km² and forms the preponderant part of Normandy and roughly 5% of the territory of France. It is divided for administrative purposes into two régions:...

. When the Normans had control of Maine, William the Conqueror was able to invade England successfully; however in 1069 the citizens revolted and expelled the Normans, which led to Hugh
Hugh V of Maine
Hugh V was the Count of Maine and titular count from 1069 until 1131. He was the son of Azzo d'Este and Gersendis .In 1069, the citizens of Le Mans and some of the Manceaux barons revolted against Norman control...

 being proclaimed count of Maine. Geoffrey V of Anjou married Mathilde in the cathedral, where Henry II Plantagenet, king of England
Henry II of England
Henry II ruled as King of England , Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Count of Nantes, Lord of Ireland and, at various times, controlled parts of Wales, Scotland and western France. Henry, the great-grandson of William the Conqueror, was the...

, was baptized.

World War II

Soon after Le Mans was liberated by the U.S. 79th and 90th Infantry Divisions on 8 August 1944, engineers of the Ninth Air Force
Ninth Air Force
The Ninth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force's Air Combat Command . It is headquartered at Shaw Air Force Base, South Carolina....

 IX Engineering Command began construction of a combat Advanced Landing Ground
Advanced Landing Ground
Advanced Landing Ground was the term given to the temporary advance airfields constructed by the Allies during World War II in support of the invasion of Europe...

 outside of the town. The airfield was declared operational on 3 September and designated as "A-35
Le Mans Airfield
Le Mans Airfield is an abandoned World War II military airfield, which is located near the City of Le Mans in the Pays de la Loire region of northern France.-History:...

". It was used by several American fighter and transport units until late November when the airfield was closed.

Main sights

  • Le Mans has a well-preserved old town (Cité Plantagenêt, also called Vieux Mans), where the cobbled streets and half-timbered house fronts provided setting for Gérard Depardieu in Cyrano de Bergerac
    Cyrano de Bergerac
    Hercule-Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac was a French dramatist and duelist. He is now best remembered for the works of fiction which have been woven, often very loosely, around his life story, most notably the 1897 play by Edmond Rostand...

    (1989) and a cathedral
    Cathedral
    A cathedral is a Christian church that contains the seat of a bishop...

    : Cathédrale St-Julien, is dedicated to St Julian of Le Mans, who is honoured as the city's first bishop.
  • There are remnants of a Roman
    Ancient Rome
    Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

     wall in the old town and Roman baths by the river. These wall are highlighted every summer (July and August) evening in a light show that tells the history of the town.
  • Arboretum de la Grand Prée
    Arboretum de la Grand Prée
    The Arboretum de la Grand Prée is an arboretum located at 2 impasse Petit Pavillon, Le Mans, Sarthe, Pays de la Loire, France. It is open by appointment.- References :*...

  • Jardin des Plantes du Mans
    Jardin des Plantes du Mans
    The Jardin des Plantes du Mans , also known as the Jardin d'Horticulture du Mans, is a botanical garden located at 4 Rue de Sinault, Le Mans, Sarthe, Pays de la Loire, France. It is open daily without charge....

  • Musée de la reine Bérengère
    Berengaria of Navarre
    Berengaria of Navarre was Queen of the English as the wife of King Richard I of England. She was the eldest daughter of King Sancho VI of Navarre and Sancha of Castile. As is the case with many of the medieval queens consort of the Kingdom of England, relatively little is known of her life...

    , a museum of Le Mans history located in a gothic manor house.
  • Musée de Tessé, the fine arts museum of the city, displaying painting (including artworks by Philippe de Champaigne
    Philippe de Champaigne
    Philippe de Champaigne was a Flemish-born French Baroque era painter, a major exponent of the French school.-Early life:Born in Brussels of a poor family, Champaigne was a pupil of the landscape painter Jacques Fouquières...

    , Charles Le Brun
    Charles Le Brun
    Charles Le Brun , a French painter and art theorist, became the all-powerful, peerless master of 17th-century French art.-Biography:-Early life and training:...

    , François Boucher
    François Boucher
    François Boucher was a French painter, a proponent of Rococo taste, known for his idyllic and voluptuous paintings on classical themes, decorative allegories representing the arts or pastoral occupations, intended as a sort of two-dimensional furniture...

    , John Constable
    John Constable
    John Constable was an English Romantic painter. Born in Suffolk, he is known principally for his landscape paintings of Dedham Vale, the area surrounding his home—now known as "Constable Country"—which he invested with an intensity of affection...

    , Ingres
    Ingres
    Ingres Database is a commercially supported, open-source SQL relational database management system intended to support large commercial and government applications...

    , Théodore Géricault
    Théodore Géricault
    Jean-Louis André Théodore Géricault was a profoundly influential French artist, painter and lithographer, known for The Raft of the Medusa and other paintings...

     and Camille Corot) and archaeological collections as well as decorative arts.

Demographics

At the 1999 French census, there were 293,159 inhabitants in the metropolitan area (aire urbaine
Aire urbaine
The aire urbaine is a statistical region created by the INSEE that comprises a commuter belt surrounding a contiguous urban core...

) of Le Mans, with 146,105 of these living in the city proper (commune).

Transportation

The Gare du Mans
Gare du Mans
Gare du Mans is a railway station serving the town Le Mans, Sarthe department, western France. It is situated on the Paris–Brest railway, Le Mans–Angers railway and the non-electrified Tours–Le Mans railway.-Services:The following services call at Le Mans:...

 is the main railway station of Le Mans. It takes 1 hour to reach Paris from Le Mans by TGV
TGV
The TGV is France's high-speed rail service, currently operated by SNCF Voyages, the long-distance rail branch of SNCF, the French national rail operator....

 high speed train. There are also TGV connections to Lille, Marseille, Nantes, Rennes and Brest. Gare du Mans is also a hub for regional trains. Le Mans inaugurated a new light rail
Light rail
Light rail or light rail transit is a form of urban rail public transportation that generally has a lower capacity and lower speed than heavy rail and metro systems, but higher capacity and higher speed than traditional street-running tram systems...

 system on 17 November 2007.

Motorsport

The city is best known for its connection with motorsports. There are actually two separate racing tracks at Le Mans, though they share certain portions. The smaller is the Bugatti Circuit (named after Ettore Bugatti
Ettore Bugatti
right|thumb|Ettore Bugatti in 1932Ettore Arco Isidoro Bugatti was an Italian-born and French naturalized citizen automobile designer and manufacturer....

, founder of the car company
Bugatti
Automobiles E. Bugatti was a French car manufacturer founded in 1909 in Molsheim, Alsace, as a manufacturer of high-performance automobiles by Italian-born Ettore Bugatti....

 bearing his name), a relatively short permanent circuit which is used for racing throughout the year. The longer and more famous Circuit de la Sarthe
Circuit de la Sarthe
The Circuit des 24 Heures, also known as Circuit de la Sarthe, located near Le Mans, France, is a semi-permanent race course most famous as the venue for the 24 Hours of Le Mans auto race. The track uses local roads that remain open to the public most of the year...

 is composed partly of public roads, which are closed to the public when the track is in use for racing, and has been host to the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans
24 Hours of Le Mans
The 24 Hours of Le Mans is the world's oldest sports car race in endurance racing, held annually since near the town of Le Mans, France. Commonly known as the Grand Prix of Endurance and Efficiency, race teams have to balance speed against the cars' ability to run for 24 hours without sustaining...

 sports car race
Sports car racing
Sports car racing is a form of circuit auto racing with automobiles that have two seats and enclosed wheels. They may be purpose-built or related to road-going sports cars....

 since 1923. Boutiques and shops are set up during the race selling merchandise and promoting products for cars. The first French Grand Prix
French Grand Prix
The French Grand Prix was a race held as part of Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile's annual Formula One automobile racing championships....

 took place on a 64-mile (103 km) circuit based at Le Mans in 1906
1906 French Grand Prix
The 1906 Grand Prix de l'Automobile Club de France, commonly known as the 1906 French Grand Prix, was a motor race held on 26 and 27 June 1906, on closed public roads outside the city of Le Mans...

. The "Le Mans start" takes its name from the way racers lined up across the street from their cars and ran across the street and jumped into their cars to begin.

Notable people

Le Mans was the birthplace of:
  • Henry II of England
    Henry II of England
    Henry II ruled as King of England , Count of Anjou, Count of Maine, Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Count of Nantes, Lord of Ireland and, at various times, controlled parts of Wales, Scotland and western France. Henry, the great-grandson of William the Conqueror, was the...

    , born 1133
  • Geoffroy V d'Anjou, born 1113
  • Geoffrey de Goreham or Gorron, became Abbot of St Albans, Hertfordshire, UK, in 1119
  • Dom Louis Le Pelletier, born 1663, linguist of the Breton language
    Breton language
    Breton is a Celtic language spoken in Brittany , France. Breton is a Brythonic language, descended from the Celtic British language brought from Great Britain to Armorica by migrating Britons during the Early Middle Ages. Like the other Brythonic languages, Welsh and Cornish, it is classified as...

  • Gilles-François de Beauvais
    Gilles-François de Beauvais
    Gilles-François de Beauvais was a French Jesuit writer and preacher.Born at Le Mans, France, de Beauvais entered the Society of Jesus in 1709, and taught belles-lettres, rhetoric, and philosophy...

    , born 7 July 1693, was a Jesuit writer and preacher.
  • Basil Moreau,C.S.C, born 1799, a priest of Le Mans founded the Congregation of Holy Cross
    Congregation of Holy Cross
    The Congregation of Holy Cross or Congregatio a Sancta Cruce is a Catholic congregation of priests and brothers founded in 1837 by Blessed Father Basil Anthony-Marie Moreau, CSC, in Le Mans, France....

    . Beatified in Le Mans 2007.
  • the Papin sisters
    Papin sisters
    Christine Papin and Léa Papin were two French maids who murdered their employer's wife and daughter in Le Mans, France, on 2 February 1933...

     whose act of murder (1933) inspired Jean Genêt
    Jean Genet
    Jean Genet was a prominent and controversial French novelist, playwright, poet, essayist, and political activist. Early in his life he was a vagabond and petty criminal, but later took to writing...

    's The Maids
    The Maids
    The Maids is a play by the French dramatist Jean Genet. It was first performed at the Théâtre de l'Athénée in Paris in a production that opened on 17 April 1947, which Louis Jouvet directed...

    .
  • Jean Françaix
    Jean Françaix
    Jean René Désiré Françaix was a French neoclassical composer, pianist, and orchestrator, known for his prolific output and vibrant style.-Life:...

    , born in 1912, composer
  • Jean Rondeau
    Jean Rondeau
    Jean Rondeau was a French race car driver and constructor, who won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1980, in a car bearing his own name, an achievement which remains unique in the history of the race.-Early career:Rondeau drove briefly in Formula Renault before moving to saloon cars...

    , born in 1946, racecar driver and constructor
  • François Fillon
    François Fillon
    François Charles Armand Fillon is the Prime Minister of France. He was appointed to that office by President Nicolas Sarkozy on 17 May 2007. He served initially until 13 November 2010 when he resigned from being prime minister before a planned cabinet reshuffle.On 14 November 2010, Sarkozy...

    , born in 1954, Prime Minister of France.
  • Julien Cottereau, born 1969, actor and clown – Cirque du Soleil, now in his own show Imagine Toi.
  • Sébastien Bourdais
    Sébastien Bourdais
    Sébastien Olivier Bourdais is a French race car driver. He is one of the most successful drivers in the history of the Champ Car World Series, having won four successive championships from 2004 to 2007....

    , born 1979, racecar driver
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, born 1985, professional tennis player.
  • Guillaume Loriot
    Guillaume Loriot
    Guillaume Loriot is a French football midfielder. He currently plays for Valenciennes.-External links:** at L'Equipe.fr...

     footballer
  • Gilles Villeneuve
    Gilles Villeneuve
    Joseph Gilles Henri Villeneuve, better known as Gilles Villeneuve , was a Canadian racing driver. An enthusiast of cars and fast driving from an early age, he started his professional career in snowmobile racing in his native province of Quebec...

    , lived temporarily in Le Mans in 1973.
  • David Jason
    David Jason
    Sir David John White, OBE , better known by his stage name David Jason, is an English BAFTA award-winning actor. He is best known as the main character Derek "Del Boy" Trotter on the BBC sit-com Only Fools and Horses from 1981, the voice of Mr Toad in The Wind In The Willows and as detective Jack...

    , English actor, lived in Le Mans between 1965–1968 and 1999–2001.
  • Andy Wallace, born 1961, racecar driver
  • Leslie
    Leslie (singer)
    Leslie is a French pop-R&B singer born on February 4, 1985 in Le Mans, France. Her father is Vietnamese and Polynesian while her mother is FrenchIn 2007, she recorded a duet single with the R&B singer Bobby Valentino, "Accorde-moi"....

    , born 4 February 1985, French singer

Twin towns – Sister cities

Le Mans is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

 with: Bolton
Bolton
Bolton is a town in Greater Manchester, in the North West of England. Close to the West Pennine Moors, it is north west of the city of Manchester. Bolton is surrounded by several smaller towns and villages which together form the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton, of which Bolton is the...

, England, United Kingdom Haouza
Haouza
Haouza or Hawza is a town in Western Sahara on the Morocco side of the Wall. According to the 2004 census it has a population of 8,769 people.-External links:*...

, Western Sahara
Western Sahara
Western Sahara is a disputed territory in North Africa, bordered by Morocco to the north, Algeria to the northeast, Mauritania to the east and south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Its surface area amounts to . It is one of the most sparsely populated territories in the world, mainly...

 Paderborn
Paderborn
Paderborn is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, capital of the Paderborn district. The name of the city derives from the river Pader, which originates in more than 200 springs near Paderborn Cathedral, where St. Liborius is buried.-History:...

, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany—officially since 1967, traditionally since 836 (oldest partnership of its kind in Europe). Rostov-on-Don
Rostov-on-Don
-History:The mouth of the Don River has been of great commercial and cultural importance since the ancient times. It was the site of the Greek colony Tanais, of the Genoese fort Tana, and of the Turkish fortress Azak...

, Rostov Oblast
Rostov Oblast
Rostov Oblast is a federal subject of Russia , located in the Southern Federal District. Rostov Oblast has an area of and a population of making it the sixth most populous federal subject in Russia...

, Russia Suzuka
Suzuka, Mie
is a city located in Mie, Japan.As of 2011, the city has an estimated population of 198,716 and the density of 1,020 people per km². The total area is 194.67 km².Located about 83 km east from Nara, and 52 km southwest from Nagoya.-History:...

, Japan Volos
Volos
Volos is a coastal port city in Thessaly situated midway on the Greek mainland, about 326 km north of Athens and 215 km south of Thessaloniki...

, Greece Xianyang
Xianyang
Xianyang is a former capital of China in Shaanxi province, on the Wei River, a few kilometers upstream from Xi'an. It has an area of...

, Shaanxi, China Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

, Egypt

Landmarks

At Mayet, near Le Mans, and with a height of 342 m, the Le Mans-Mayet transmitter
Transmitter Le Mans-Mayet
The transmitter Le Mans-Mayet is a 342 metre high guyed mast for TV- and FM-radio transmission near Le Mans, France at 0°19'E and 47°45'N. This guyed mast, built in 1993, is one of the tallest constructions of France, taller than Eiffel Tower.-External links:...

is one of the tallest radio masts in France.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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