Annecy (US: AN-ə-SEE, ahn-SEE, French: [ansi] (listen); Arpitan: Èneci or Ènneci) is the prefecture and largest city of the Haute-Savoie department in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of Southeastern France. It lies on the northern tip of Lake Annecy, 35 kilometres (22 mi) south of Geneva, Switzerland. Nicknamed the "Pearl of French Alps" in Raoul Blanchard's monograph describing its location between lake and mountains, the city controls the northern entrance to the lake gorge. Due to a lack of available building land between the lake and the protected Semnoz mountain, its population has remained stagnant, around 50,000 inhabitants, since 1950. However, the 2017 merger with several ex-communes extended the city population to 128,199 inhabitants and 177,622 for its urban area, placing Annecy seventh in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region.
Switching from the counts of Geneva's dwelling in the 13th century, to the counts of Savoy's in the 14th century, the city became Savoy's capital in 1434 during the Genevois-Nemours prerogative until 1659. Its role increased in 1536, during the Calvinist Reformation in Geneva, while the bishop took refuge in Annecy. Saint Francis de Sales gave Annecy its advanced Catholic citadel role known as Counter-Reformation. The annexation of Savoy merged the city to France in 1860. Sometimes called "Venice of the Alps", this idyllic and touristic representation comes from the three canals and the Thiou river, which passes through the old city. The city experienced an industrial development in the 19th century with silk manufacturing. Some of its industrial legacy remains today with the headquarters of NTN-SNR bearings, Salomon, Entremont and Dassault Aviation.
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