In this article we will talk about castles in Spain and France. It is amazing how well preserved these castles are and are really worth a visit.
Since the early Middle Ages, when the Sacred Reconquista began, local rulers were forced to build fortresses and defensive structures to protect the lands conquered from Muslims. Later, in the era of feudal feuds and fragmentation, it was necessary to defend oneself from neighbors. Yes, and the eternal struggle for royal power fanned many wars in the land of Spain. Needless to say, the attacks of envious neighbors throughout history have been enviously glancing at the fertile and fertile lands of Iberia. Thus, century after century, the magnificent architectural heritage of the great Spanish Empire was formed. In addition, the First and Second World Wars, by command from above, went around Spain, thanks to which the kingdom managed to preserve its heritage, most of which is now under the protection of UNESCO. Thanks to this, the Kingdom of Spain is literally strewn with medieval castles and fortresses. According to experts, in the old days in Spain the number of castles and fortresses reached 10,000. Today, there are more than 2,500, of which 500 are in excellent condition.
Close your eyes and for a moment imagine a fairytale castle with towers and turrets, high walls with battlements and a defensive moat teeming with crocodiles. And now open your eyes and admire the Coca Castle, standing on the Voltoy River, which is rightfully one of the most spectacular castles in Spain! And there are many reasons for this! Its construction began in the 5th century and absorbed all the best from the architecture of the Middle Ages. This is the best example of Spanish Gothic and Mudejar style. The castle is protected by the state as a National Monument and has an impressive defensive system. Your attention will certainly be attracted by the majestic tower towering above the castle and the beautiful Gothic ribbed vault, decorated with mosaics. Currently, the castle is under the control of the family of the House of the Dukes of Alba, and already in 2054 will pass into the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Agriculture of Spain.
Traveling around the Urdaybai Nature Reserve in the Basque Country, among the thickets of the fabulous Basque forest, you will encounter Butron Castle, very unusual forthese places.
This is a real miracle of medieval architecture, the beginning of construction of which dates back to the 11th century! The castle acquired a lot of new buildings during the reconstruction of the 14th century, and the final appearance was completed in the 19th century. Its fantasy design of towers and turrets, transitions, arches, battlements and all decorative elements resembles Bavarian castles. The house has several bedrooms, a chapel, a large living room of 200 square meters, a typical courtyard, a library and dungeons. For many years, it was used as a place for the reconstruction of knightly fights in medieval tourist shows. And now it is for sale.
The Templar castle in Ponferrada as if descended from the screens of knightly films. It is located in El Bierzo, on a hill at the confluence of the Rivers Sil and Boesa. The origin of this castle dates back to the ancient Celtic Castro, built on a hilltop in the pre-Roman era. But it was the Templars who owned the castle until the XIV century, glorified this place. The castle in Ponferrada is a magnificent building, the result of centuries-old changes and extensions. Be sure to visit the arms yard and the remains of the embrasure preserved around the main entrance with two towers.
Unfortunately, in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the castle was badly damaged when its premises were used as quarries. During this period, some walls were destroyed to build a football field. In 1923, the castle was recognized as a National Monument and later restoration work began.
In France, some of the most beautiful castles in Europe are located, so it’s even difficult to choose which of this beauty is worth a visit.
The over-fortified Foix Castle is an important tourist attraction in the region, the center of the Cathars. It was built in the Middle Ages and has been known since 987. In 1034, the castle became the capital of the county of Foix and played an important role in medieval military history. Towers were gradually added to further protect the fortress. Two square towers of the castle, built before the 11th century, served as a political and civil prison for 4 centuries, until 1862. The newest tower is round, it was added in the 15th century. Since 1840, the castle is classified as a historical monument.
The magnificent Chateau de Vincennes is a massive castle owned by French kings, built in the 14th and rebuilt in the 17th century, located in the city of Vincennes, east of Paris (now it is a suburb of the capital of France). Like many other famous castles, it began as a hunting lodge, built for Louis VII in 1150 in the Vincennes forest. Its amazingly spacious building consists of a fortress with four corner towers, surrounded by a thick wall around the perimeter.
Without a doubt, Mont Saint-Michel is one of the most impressive architectural ensembles in Europe. Built in the 8th century, the abbey of Mont Saint-Michel is located on a rocky island on the northern coast of France, in Normandy . The uniqueness of this place is that this island is located just 600 m from the continent, it can easily be reached at low tide, as many pilgrims did. At the same time, it is also an ideal place for defense: at high tide, potential attackers would have to drown. Mont Saint-Michel (the abbey and its surrounding town) - one of the most recognizable sights of France, are included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. About 3 million people visit the abbey annually.