Chateaux of Var

Château d'Hyères

Château d'Hyères was one of the largest castles in Provence. The first mention of the castle dates from 1062. In 1524 and in 1536 the royal armies swept over Provence and Hyères castle was also besieged and conquered. It was reorganised by Charles I of Anjou in 1527 and ultimately dismantled by Louis XIII in a gesture of authority following the destructive religious wars. The castle has been labelled Historical ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Hyères, France

Château d'Entrecasteaux

Château d'Entrecasteaux was originally built in the 11th century, but rebuilt later in the 15th, 16th and 18th centuries. In 1974, after several decades of abandonment, the castle was restored by the British painter Hugh Ian Macgarvie-Munn who turned the castle into a museum.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Entrecasteaux, France

Château De Bargème

The castle in small village of Bargème was constructed in the 13th century. During the Wars of religion it was in hands of Jean-Basptiste de Pontevès, Lord of Callas (1505-1579). In April 1579, the inhabitants of Callas, assisted by a resident named Jacques Sossy, a lieutenant of a Huguenot branch, broke into the castle and killed Pierre de Pontevès, then imprisoned Jean-Baptiste de Pontevès, his wife and his son B ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bargème, France

Château d'Aiguines

Château d"Aiguines was built by the Templars at the request of the Bishop of Riez in the 12th century. It was again rebuilt by Balthazar de Gauthier, local lord from 1596 to 1641. Today castle is privately owned.
Founded: 12th century | Location: Aiguines, France

Château de Vins

Château de Vins was built by Saint Marc Jaumegarde, member of the Garde noble family in the early 16th century. The abandoned castle was restored since 1960.
Founded: 16th century | Location: Vins-sur-Caramy, France

Fort de Brégançon

Perched on a rocky outcrop, this islet had been inhabited since the 2nd century AD. The fortified castle, built in the Merovingian period, and the estate was to have countless occupants before coming under state ownership during the French Revolution. The fort was built in the 13th century and was used for military purposes for most of its life, belonging to a variety of noble families as they fell in and out of power th ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Bormes-les-Mimosas, France

Château de La Colle Noire

The Château de La Colle Noire is built on a promontory overlooking the plains of Montauroux. The chateau is surrounded by a park with a chapel dedicated to St Anne. The ensemble dates from the middle of the 19th century and was entirely redesigned by Christian Dior from 1950. It has been the property of Parfums Christian Dior since 2013.
Founded: 1826 | Location: Montauroux, France

Château de Taurenne

The Château de Taurenne is steeped in history. The castle, founded in the eleventh century, is magnificent and imposing with its 5 round towers. It is the center of an area of 253 hectares located between Aups and Tourtour. The estate has 8500 olive trees.
Founded: 11th century | Location: Aups, France

Château de Pontevès

The Château de Pontevès site is first recorded in a document in 1021 as the property of the monastery of Saint-Victoir in Marseille. Later, the lords of Pontevès progressively developed the site. In 1233 there is mention of a gate to the courtyard and the buildings arranged in the U-shape characteristic of the early 13th century. Further additions between 1560 and 1580 included a new bedroom, a great hall and the no ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Pontevès, France

Château de Saint-Sauveur

On a wooded hilltop just southeast of Rocbaron village are the ruins of Château de Saint-Sauveur. A short hike up from the village visits the ruins and gives you a magnificent view across the land. About 10 minutes up the trail are the ruins of the ancient chapel. Really just the stone walls of the old building sitting in the trees at the edge of a small clearing. Interesting, but the real ruins are another 10-15 minute ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Rocbaron, France

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Seville Cathedral

Seville's cathedral, Santa Maria de la Sede, is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world, and is recognised as UNESCO World Heritage. After its completion in the early 16th century, Seville Cathedral supplanted Hagia Sophia as the largest cathedral in the world, a title the Byzantine church had held for nearly a thousand years.

History

The basilica occupies the site of the great Aljama mosque, built in the late 12th century by the Almohads, the ruling Moorish dynasty, of which the only remaining parts are the Patio de Naranjas, the Puerta del Perdon (on Calle Alemanes, on the north side), and the Giralda (formerly the minaret, now the belltower).

Shortly after Seville's conquest by Ferdinand III, the mosque was converted into the city's cathedral. Its orientation was changed and its spaces partitioned and adorned to suit Christian worship practices. The internal space was gradually divided into chapels by constructing walls in the bays along the northern and southern walls. Almost the entire eastern half of the cathedral was occupied by the royal chapel that would hold the bodies of Ferdinand, his wife and Alfonso the Wise.

In 1401, city leaders decided to build a new cathedral to replace the grand mosque that served as the cathedral until then. Construction continued until 1506. The clergy of the parish offered half their stipends to pay for architects, artists, stained glass artisans, masons, carvers, craftsman and labourers and other expenses. Five years after construction ended, in 1511, the crossing lantern, or cimborrio, collapsed and work on the cathedral recommenced. The crossing again collapsed in 1888 due an earthquake, and work on the dome continued until at least 1903.

Architecture

The interior has the longest nave of any cathedral in Spain. The central nave rises to a height of 42 metres. In the main body of the cathedral, the most noticeable features are the great boxlike choir loft, which fills the central portion of the nave, and the vast Gothic retablo of carved scenes from the life of Christ. This altarpiece was the lifetime work of a single craftsman, Pierre Dancart.

The Capilla Mayor (Great Chapel), dominated by a vast Gothic retablo (altarpiece) comprised of 45 carved scenes from the life of Christ, as well as Santa Maria de la Sede, the cathedral's patron saint. The lifetime's work of a single craftsman, Pierre Dancart, this is the ultimate masterpiece of the cathedral - the largest and richest altarpiece in the world and one of the finest examples of Gothic woodcarving anywhere.

The Giralda is the bell tower of the Cathedral of Seville. Its height is 105 m. The Giralda is the former minaret of the mosque that stood on the site under Muslim rule, and was built to resemble the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech, Morocco. It was converted into a bell tower for the cathedral after the Reconquista, although the topmost section dates from the Renaissance.

The tomb of Christopher Columbus is one of the main attractions of the cathedral for visitors, housing the remains of the great explorer who died in poverty in Valladolid. The tomb itself is more recent, from the 1892, with four bearers presenting the kingdoms of Castile, Leon, Aragon and Navarra.