Chateaux of Brittany

Château de Saint-Malo

Château de Saint-Malo was built between 1424 and 1690, first by Jean V, the Duke of Brittany. The Duke Francois II built the first tower in 1475. In 1590 during the Wars of Religion the castle was occupied by local people, who wanted to prevent local governor to gave the city to Protestant king Henry IV. The château was modified in the 17th century according the design of famous fortress architect Sebastian V ...
Founded: 1424 | Location: Saint-Malo, France

Château de Fougères

The Château de Fougères is an impressive castle with curtain wall and 13 towers. It had three different enclosures, first for defensive purposes, second for day to day usages in peacetime and for safety of the surrounding populations in times of siege, the last enclosure was where the keep was situated. The first wooden fort was built by the House of Amboise in the 11th century. It was destroyed in 1166 after it was be ...
Founded: c. 1167 | Location: Fougères, France

Fort-la-Latte

Fort-la-Latte or Castle of La Latte was built on a small piece of land at the Baie de la Fresnaye in the 14th century. In 1379 it was conquered by Bertrand du Guesclin. It was besieged by the English in 1490 and by the holy League in 1597. Garangeau under the reign of Louis XIV turned the castle into a fortress, using Vauban"s building plans. They used canon batteries, stationed in Fort La Latte, to defend Saint-Malo ...
Founded: 1340 | Location: Plévenon, France

Château de Josselin

Château de Josselin was built in the 11th century and rebuilt at various times since. Guéthénoc, vicomte of Porhoët, Rohan and Guéméné, began to build the first castle on the site around the year 1008, choosing a rocky promontory overlooking the valley of the Oust. The site chosen for the castle was excellent from both the commercial and the military points of view, and since the 9th century there had also existed ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Josselin, France

Château de Clisson

Within then independent Brittany, Château de Clisson, situated at a crossroads for Anjou and Poitou, was one of the great fortified places on the frontiers of the Duchy of Brittany. The first Lords of Clisson occupied the site from the 11th century. They are mentioned for the first time in 1040. Clisson was then the seat of a powerful châtellenie covering 23 parishes. Most of the present castle was built in the 13th ce ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Clisson, France

Château de Vitré

The first castle in Vitré was built of wood on a feudal motte around the year 1000 on the Sainte-Croix hill. The castle was burned down on several occasions, and eventually was bequeathed to the Benedictine monks of Marmoutier Abbey. The first stone castle was built by the baron Robert I of Vitré at the end of the 11th century. The defensive site chosen, a rocky promontory, dominated the valley of the Vilaine. A Romane ...
Founded: c. 1090 | Location: Vitré, France

Château de Brest

The Château de Brest is one of the largest roadsteads (sheltered area outside a harbor) in the world. From the Roman castellum to Vauban"s citadel, the site has over 1700 years of history, holding right up to the present day its original role as a military fortress and a strategic location of the highest importance. It is thus the oldest castle in the world still in use. The structure"s heterogeneous archi ...
Founded: 200 AD | Location: Brest, France

Château de Suscinio

The Château de Suscinio was built in the late Middle Ages as the residence of the Dukes of Brittany. The spectacular site comprises the moated castle, a ruined chapel, a dovecote, and a few ruined outbuildings. Designed to be a place of leisure, between the seaside and a forest full of game for hunting, the castle"s first logis seigneurial (seigniorial house) dates from the beginning of the 13th century. The c ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Sarzeau, France

Château de la Roche-Jagu

Built in the 15th century on the site of an earlier medieval fort, the Gothic Château de la Roche-Jagu was much larger originally. The one main wing left standing has severe good looks. There are few openings of any sort on the side dominating the river, reflecting its defensive role. However, a staggering line of 19 chimneys in a row adds a decorative flourish along the crest of the building. The façade on the other si ...
Founded: 15th century | Location: Ploëzal, France

Château de Dinan

The Château de Dinan consists of a keep and gate, which are part of the 2,600 metres of medieval ramparts which still surround the old town. The keep is called Donjon de la duchesse Anne (Keep of the Duchess Anne), and stands 34m high near the Saint Louis gate. John V, Duke of Brittany built the keep in 1382-1383. The keep is formed by a union of two tall circular towers; a moat and drawbridge divides the keep from ...
Founded: 1382-1383 | Location: Dinan, France

Château de Keriolet

Keriolet manor dates back to the 15th century. It was redesigned in the 19th century by princess Zénaïde Narischkine Youssoupoff, the aunt of Russian Tsar Nikolai II, for her young spouse, the Count of Chauveau in Concarneau, a commoner for whom she purchased two noble titles. Extremely fond of the region, the princess"s design uses numerous symbols to represent Breton history and tradition (Breton couples in ...
Founded: 19th century | Location: Concarneau, France

Château de Kerjean

The construction of Château de Kerjean began in 1670 by Louis Barbier. It is one of the most largest and glorious castles in the region. Today Kerjean is open to the public and there is a 20-hectares park surrounding the castle.
Founded: 1670 | Location: Saint-Vougay, France

Château de Trévarez

The Château de Trévarez is a stately home commissioned by James Kerjégu, Chairman of the General Council of Finistère, and built at the end of the 19th century by the French architect Walter-André Destailleur. Trévarez is one of the most recent châteaux built in France. Construction was completed around the beginning of the twentieth century. In 1941, the château was t ...
Founded: 1893 | Location: Saint-Goazec, France

Château de Mayenne

Château de Mayenne was originally a wooden castle on a steep rock built in the 8th century AD. It was rebuilt as a stone castle in 920, but burnt down in 1063 during the Breton wars against Wilhelm the Conqueror. The castle was enlarged in the 13th century. In the late Middle Ages Mayenne castle was no longer used as a a residence, but it was a garrison and magazine. English army occupied it twice during the Hundred ...
Founded: 778 AD | Location: Mayenne, France

Château de la Hunaudaye

The Château de la Hunaudaye was built by Olivier Tournemine around 1220. In that time, this castle protected the eastern border of the Penthièvre (Lamballe’s area), which was involved in a feud with the Poudouvre (Dinan’s area). The castle was destroyed in 1341, during the war of Brittany Succession, a civil war that ravaged the Brittany dukedom during two decades. At the end of the 14th century, ...
Founded: c. 1220 | Location: Plédéliac, France

Château de Pont-L'Abbé

Château de Pont-L'Abbé spans from the 14th to 18th centuries. The 'wedding' room decorated with Mathurin Méheut pieces of art (Sainte-Marine port), Henri Sollier and Jacques Godin. The structure now serves as the town hall and houses the Bigouden Museum, with its fine collection of costumes and Bigouden head-dresses.
Founded: 1385 | Location: Pont-l'Abbé, France

Château de Quintin

Château de Quintin was mentioned as 'castellum novum' in 1202 and it was probably a fortified manor built in the late 1100s by Alain de Penthièvre. Geoffroy I Boterel built the first actual castle in the middle 1200s. it consisted of a moat, four gates, curtain walls and towers. The castle was badly damaged in the Wars of Religion (1590s). The next castle was built as a living residence in 1643 and ...
Founded: 1643 | Location: Quintin, France

Château de Combourg

The original castle on the site of current Château de Combourg was built around 1025 by Archbishop Guinguené, who gave it to his illegitimate brother Riwallon. Major alterations were made between the 15th and 19th centuries. The castle consists of four large, powerful buildings of dressed granite, with crenellations and machicolations, enclosing a rectangular courtyard. In each corner of this massive fortress is a round ...
Founded: 1025 | Location: Combourg, France

Château du Guildo

Château du Guildo dates from the 11th century, when there was a fortified manor, probably made of wood. The stone castle was built in the 13th century in three phases. It was destroyed a century later and the new castle construction began in the late 1300s. Later it was restored as a living residence, but badly damaged in the late 1400s during the French-Breton War. The castle took part also to the Wars of Religion, ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Saint-Jacut-de-la-Mer, France

Château de Trémazan

Château de Trémazan was constructed on a rocky outcrop and had a square keep which, following a partial collapse during the winter of 1995, exposed the interior to reveal a habitable tower of four floors, each with one chamber. The history of Trémazan is intimately linked to that of the du Chastel (or Châtel) family. It was they who built it and made it their principal residence for several centuries. The origins of ...
Founded: 10th century | Location: Landunvez, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba

The Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba, also known as the Great Mosque of Córdoba and the Mezquita is regarded as one of the most accomplished monuments of Moorish architecture.

According to a traditional account, a small Visigoth church, the Catholic Basilica of Saint Vincent of Lérins, originally stood on the site. In 784 Abd al-Rahman I ordered construction of the Great Mosque, which was considerably expanded by later Muslim rulers. The mosque underwent numerous subsequent changes: Abd al-Rahman II ordered a new minaret, while in 961 Al-Hakam II enlarged the building and enriched the Mihrab. The last of such reforms was carried out by Almanzor in 987. It was connected to the Caliph"s palace by a raised walkway, mosques within the palaces being the tradition for previous Islamic rulers – as well as Christian Kings who built their palaces adjacent to churches. The Mezquita reached its current dimensions in 987 with the completion of the outer naves and courtyard.

In 1236, Córdoba was conquered by King Ferdinand III of Castile, and the centre of the mosque was converted into a Catholic cathedral. Alfonso X oversaw the construction of the Villaviciosa Chapel and the Royal Chapel within the mosque. The kings who followed added further Christian features, such as King Henry II rebuilding the chapel in the 14th century. The minaret of the mosque was also converted to the bell tower of the cathedral. It was adorned with Santiago de Compostela"s captured cathedral bells. Following a windstorm in 1589, the former minaret was further reinforced by encasing it within a new structure.

The most significant alteration was the building of a Renaissance cathedral nave in the middle of the expansive structure. The insertion was constructed by permission of Charles V, king of Castile and Aragon. Artisans and architects continued to add to the existing structure until the late 18th century.

Architecture

The building"s floor plan is seen to be parallel to some of the earliest mosques built from the very beginning of Islam. It had a rectangular prayer hall with aisles arranged perpendicular to the qibla, the direction towards which Muslims pray. The prayer hall was large and flat, with timber ceilings held up by arches of horseshoe-like appearance.

In planning the mosque, the architects incorporated a number of Roman columns with choice capitals. Some of the columns were already in the Gothic structure; others were sent from various regions of Iberia as presents from the governors of provinces. Ivory, jasper, porphyry, gold, silver, copper, and brass were used in the decorations. Marvellous mosaics and azulejos were designed. Later, the immense temple embodied all the styles of Morisco architecture into one composition.

The building is most notable for its arcaded hypostyle hall, with 856 columns of jasper, onyx, marble, granite and porphyry. These were made from pieces of the Roman temple that had occupied the site previously, as well as other Roman buildings, such as the Mérida amphitheatre. The double arches were an innovation, permitting higher ceilings than would otherwise be possible with relatively low columns. The double arches consist of a lower horseshoe arch and an upper semi-circular arch.