Apr. 28th, 2012

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If there's one monument in the medieval walled city of Carcassone that's famous the world over, it's the castle.  Which is probably one of the most archetypcal, prototypical medieval castles there is.

Its current form owes much to Viollet le Duc's nineteenth century restoration.  And, of course, as I mentioned previously, this was intended to capture the essence of the castle at a particular point in time, during the late thirteenth century, when the castle was at the height of its power.

The entrance is particularly robust, featuring these massive towers:-





Here's another view. Once again, the line of the restoration can be seen in the smoother masonry around the wallhead.  The defences here are particularly complex: there are two portcullises, with the control mechanisms located on different floors, supposedly to prevent treachery from amongst the defenders.  The portcullis slot can also double up as a handy machicholation, through which the defending forces can hurl missiles or noxious substances (careful with that chanber pot, Eugene!!) through to the enemy troops below.




If that wasn't enough, any attackers would have to make it through the barbican before they tried to get through the gatehouse.  This feature is semi-circular on plan, and is a hefty defensive structure itself, with crenellated walls and another smaller gatehouse.  The bridge which crosses the rock-cut ditch (I refuse to call it a 'moat' because there ain't no water!!) would also have been a handy defensive feature, as only a few men could have crossed from the barbican to the gatehouse at a time, and they would surely have made easy targets...





If you made it through both sets of defences, this is where you might find yourself.  Within a courtyard,  In a place where this building gets truly interesting, because the restoration has deliberately left these buildings in a condition where the long-term changes can be identified and 'read' by the interested onlookers.  And it's here that you will find Count Roger's castle, or what's left of it, preserved amongst the later late thirteenth century remains:-

If y

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