Eufemio Castle is mentioned in several historical sources, the oldest dating back to the first decades of the 12th century. It was described as an important place for the old town, thanks to its strategic position. In the 13th century, the importance of the Eufemio Castle grew considerably, as it was one of the main ones imperial castles of the reign of Frederick II of Swabia, whose guards guarded him during the battle against Muslims, who resided near the historic Segesta.
In the following centuries, the Eufemio Castle was inhabited by the various feudal lords who took turns at the command of Calatafimi Segesta, up to the 19th century, where it was used as prigione. Eufemio Castle remained in operation until 1868, only to be totally abandoned to itself, causing its state of degradation which, over time, saw the collapse of many of its parts. Today it is partially restored.
The Eufemio Castle would have been equipped with three towers, two still visible today in its remains, while there is no trace of the third, a fate shared also with the walls who would have wrapped it up to improve its defense system. Once you entered the Eufemio Castle, on the left there would have been the prisons, some walls of which have still been left engravings made, in all probability, by the prisoners themselves while serving their penalties. The Eufemio Castle would also have had a upper floor, which would have been used as a residence for the reigning feudal family.References:
Les Invalides is a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments, all relating to the military history of France, as well as a hospital and a retirement home for war veterans, the building"s original purpose. The buildings house the Musée de l"Armée, the military museum of the Army of France, the Musée des Plans-Reliefs, and the Musée d"Histoire Contemporaine, as well as the burial site for some of France"s war heroes, notably Napoleon Bonaparte.
Louis XIV initiated the project in 1670, as a home and hospital for aged and unwell soldiers: the name is a shortened form of hôpital des invalides. The architect of Les Invalides was Libéral Bruant. The enlarged project was completed in 1676, the river front measured 196 metres and the complex had fifteen courtyards. Jules Hardouin Mansart assisted the aged Bruant, and the chapel was finished in 1679 to Bruant"s designs after the elder architect"s death.
Shortly after the veterans" chapel was completed, Louis XIV commissioned Mansart to construct a separate private royal chapel referred to as the Église du Dôme from its most striking feature. Inspired by St. Peter"s Basilica in Rome, the original for all Baroque domes, it is one of the triumphs of French Baroque architecture. The domed chapel is centrally placed to dominate the court of honour. It was finished in 1708.
Because of its location and significance, the Invalides served as the scene for several key events in French history. On 14 July 1789 it was stormed by Parisian rioters who seized the cannons and muskets stored in its cellars to use against the Bastille later the same day. Napoleon was entombed under the dome of the Invalides with great ceremony in 1840. In December 1894 the degradation of Captain Alfred Dreyfus was held before the main building, while his subsequent rehabilitation ceremony took place in a courtyard of the complex in 1906.
The building retained its primary function of a retirement home and hospital for military veterans until the early twentieth century. In 1872 the musée d"artillerie (Artillery Museum) was located within the building to be joined by the Historical Museum of the Armies in 1896. The two institutions were merged to form the present musée de l"armée in 1905. At the same time the veterans in residence were dispersed to smaller centres outside Paris. The reason was that the adoption of a mainly conscript army, after 1872, meant a substantial reduction in the numbers of veterans having the twenty or more years of military service formerly required to enter the Hôpital des Invalides. The building accordingly became too large for its original purpose. The modern complex does however still include the facilities detailed below for about a hundred elderly or incapacitated former soldiers.