Geographical Location and Population
Gannat is the chef-lieu de canton, and was a sous-préfecture (sub-prefecture) until 1926, with a population of around 5 800 habitants. Gannat is situated on the D2009 (previously the Route nationale 9 between Moulins and Clermont-Ferrand, D2209 to Vichy and D998 to Néris-les-Bains). It is 18 kilometres west of Vichy and 43 kilometres north of Clermont-Ferrand.
The most ancient discoveries in Gannet, dated back 23 million years. Gannat seems to have been a veritable cemetery for these creatures, so many of their remains have been discovered. The site is particularly rich in rhinoceros.
The discovery of fossils, silos, wells, ceramics, bronze or blue glass bracelets, enclosures with entrances, ashes and wood charcoal show that the region was already widely occupied by from the final Bronze Age to the Second Iron Age.
After the resistance of the Gauls at Gergovie and the defeat of Vercingétorix at Alésia in 52BC, Gannat was occupied by Romans interested in the riches of the Limagne. They devloped cultivation by draining the soil.
The Gauls were "Romanised" little by little and many Gallo-Roman structures can be found in surrounding communes. Artisans flourished to satisfy Roman demand. Construction materials were imported and exchanged for local craft or agricultural products. Urban centres were developed, as well as roads, linking Clermont to Menat, Biozat, Vichy, Gannat, Bègues and Chantelle.
Intangible Cultural Heritage
Created in 1974, the Festival De Gannat, Les Cultures de Monde is one of the most famous festivals in France. Calling upon man’s richest quality and its diversity, the festival presents various cultures during 10 days in July every year. Around 400 musicians and dancers from all over the world share in a multicultural context their performances. In addition to this, concerts, workshops, typical diners, rituals, exhibitions with artists and experts take place at the same time.