Chateaux of Pyrénées-Atlantiques

Château de Pau

The Château de Pau dominates the center of the city Pau. Henry IV of France and Navarre was born here on December 13, 1553 and it was once used by Napoleon as a holiday home during his period of power. Pau Castle was founded in the Middle Ages. Work before any military, is a castle typically built on top of the hill overlooking the Gave bounded by ravine Hédas. In the twelfth century Gaston IV of Béarn ...
Founded: 12th century | Location: Pau, France

Château-Vieux

The Château-Vieux ('Old castle') in Bayonne is built on the site of an ancient Roman castrum which housed the garrison and administration of the region. From the end of the 11th century the viscounts of Labourd built the fortress based on three existing Roman towers strengthened. The castle was refortified in the 17th century by Vauban plans.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Bayonne, France

Château-Neuf

Sitting in the highest point of Petit Bayonne you will find the  Château-Neuf (“new castle”) built in the 15th century by Charles IV. This massive building now belongs to the university and is unfortunately closed to the public.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Bayonne, France

Fort de Socoa

Fort Socoa in Ciboure was originally built under the rule of Henry IV to protect the region from the Spanish. Fort Socoa today was however built later under the reign of Louis XIII. In 1636, the Spanish army took the fort. A few years later, French sovereignty was restored. In 1686, Vauban strenghtened the Fort and planned to build a pier to improve access to the Fort. The work of the fort was ended in 1698. The site ...
Founded: 17th century | Location: Ciboure, France

Château d'Abbadie

Château d"Abbadie is a château in Hendaye. Built between 1864 and 1879, it was designed in the neo-Gothic style by E. Viollet-le-Duc and incorporated many enigmatic features characteristic of its owner, the explorer Antoine Thomson d"Abbadie.
Founded: 1864-1879 | Location: Hendaye, France

Château de Morlanne

This imposing brick castle Château de Morlanne, forming a polygonal enceinte, is a powerful 14th century structure with gateways, a courtyard, moats and a high keep. Inside is a manor house dating from the end of the 16th century. The castle, standing on a motte at the southern end of the village, was built about 1370 by the architect Sicard de Lordat for Arnaud-Guilhem, the brother of Gaston Fébus (Gaston III ...
Founded: 1370 | Location: Morlanne, France

Château de Bellocq

Château de Bellocq dates from the end of the 13th century and consists of an irregular quadrilateral reinforced by seven towers, linked to the fortified house built in 1281. It was remodelled during the 14th century. The castle was burned down by Louis XIII in 1620 to prevent it being used by Protestants. At the end of the 13th century, Bellocq was at the frontier with English controlled Guyenne. Gaston VII Moncade ...
Founded: 1281 | Location: Bellocq, France

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 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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.