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

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.