Castles in Nouvelle-Aquitaine

Château de Gramont

Château de Gramont was first mentioned in 1329, belonging to the lords of Gramont. The medieval castle was destroyed in 1523 by the troops of Charles V of Spain and reuilt later with Renaissance additions. The gardens and terraces date from the 17th century. In 1793 , the castle and its outbuildings were confiscated to the Nation and a military hospital was installed there for a few months. The building was empty whe ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Bidache, France

Château d'Urtubie

Château d"Urtubie still belongs to the same family since its construction in 1341. Additions and improvements were carried out in the 16th and 18th centuries and the castle is today a historic monument, furnished and decorated with refinement . The stones of Urtubie tell six centuries of history of the Basque Country . King Louis XI sejourned in the castle in 1463 and Louis XIV raised the domain to the status of vi ...
Founded: 1341 | Location: Urrugne, France

Château de Mauléon

Château de Mauléon was first built in the 11th century. The wooden building was replaced in the 13th century by the strongest castle of area in a strategic location on the road to Spain. Later it was conquered by English army. In 1642 the castle is demolished by order of Louis XIII. In 1648 a partial reconstruction was organized but the castle was finally left abandoned. During the French Revolution it was a pris ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Mauléon-Licharre, France

Château de Blanquefort

Château de Blanquefort is a ruined castle standing on a spur overlooking the Briolance valley. In the ninth century, a first fortification was built. The white stone gave the fort the name 'White Fort', in Latin Blanca Fortis, which evolved into the modern name Blanquefort. During the Plantagenet holding of Aquitaine, the fortifications were expanded into a royal fortress at the end of the thirteenth century b ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Blanquefort, France

Château de Curton

Château de Curton is a castle and a Bordeaux winery producing wines classified as Bordeaux AOC. The castle is situated on the edge of the town of Tizac-Curton, which takes its name from the first Seigneurs (lords) of Curton. The earliest member of the Curton family documented in official texts is Raimond de Curton appearing in the 11th century, appearing as a Lord from the beginning of the 12th century. From the end of ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Daignac, France

Château de la Trave

Arnaud-Bernard de Preyssac built the Château de la Trave in the early 14th century. It was destroyed in 1456 by the order of Charles VII of France.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Préchac, France

Château de Benauge

Château de Benauge is a medieval fortress in the commune of Arbis. It has been a stately home of the viscounts and earls of Benauges and the viscounts of Bezaume since at least the 13th century. It is one of the most impressive medieval castles in Gironde.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Arbis, France

Château de Carles

Château de Carles was originally laid during the course of the Hundred Years’ War and the building took its current appearance in the early 15th century. It was owned by the De Carle family. In the 17th century, Château de Carles became a beacon for thinkers and literary figures, but was sold as property of the nation during the Revolution, following which many of its buildings were demolished and the estate was reduc ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Saillans, France

Château de la Mothe-Gajac

Château de la Mothe-Gajac was first mentioned in 1289, but the current square form castle with corner towers was rebuilt after the Hundred Years" War. 
Founded: 15th century | Location: Saint-Médard-en-Jalles, France

Château d’Eck

Built in the late 11th century, Château d’Eck, is located in the commune of Cadaujac. It is one of the most beautiful medieval châteaux in the Bordeaux area. Flanked by four towers and an outer wall several metres tall, it also features admirable machicolations and loopholes. King William VIII of England established the reputation of its wines. His son, Edward, gave the château to the Church in 1287. The Bishops of B ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Cadaujac, France

Château de Guilleragues

The Château de Guilleragues is a medieval, previously ruined but restored castle in the commune of Saint-Sulpice-de-Guilleragues. This early 14th-century castle, built at the side of a small valley, consists of a long rectangular building, composed of a fortified house flanked by two towers and two watchtowers at either extremity of an annexe of the same height, from 1564. The lower court and the common buildings i ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Saint-Sulpice-de-Guilleragues, France

Château des Tours

The Château des Tours was built in the 14th century. At that time it had three towers: one had a polygonal interior and was the dungeon, and the others were circular flanking an oblong building on the east and west corners of its south face; then, at the same corners on the north face, there are sentry boxes with Corbels. The oldest part is in the south of the present castle and is also a little higher. North of the ori ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Montagne, France

Château de Belzunce

The Château de Belzunce is a ruined castle in the commune of Ayherre. Its construction dates from the 13th, 14th and 16th centuries The castle has a trapezoidal plan flanked by four towers, representing two periods of construction, the Middle Ages and the 16th century. During the 16th century, it was redeveloped and finally ruined. During the French Revolution, it was sold as national property. It appears to have b ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Ayherre, France

Château de Caumale

The Château de Caumale is a castle in Escalans It was completed in the 12th century. The two lower towers date from that time, other were erected in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Escalans, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.