Kastellet is one of the best preserved star fortresses in Northern Europe. It is constructed in the form of a pentagram with bastions at its corners. Kastellet was continuous with the ring of bastioned ramparts which used to encircle Copenhagen but of which only the ramparts of Christianshavn remain today.
King Christian IV of Denmark initiated Kastellet’s construction in 1626 with the building of an advanced post, the Sankt Annæ Skanse (St. Anne's Redoubt), on the coast north of the city. The redoubt guarded the entrance to the port, together with a blockhouse that was constructed north of Christianshavn, which had just been founded on the other side of the strait between Zealand and Amager. At that time the fortifications only reached as far north as present day Nørreport station, and then returned south east to meet the coast at Bremerholm, the Royal Shipyard. However, part of the king's plan was to expand the area of the fortified city by abandoning the old East Rampart and instead extend the rampart straight north to connect it to Sankt Annæ Skanse. This plan was not completed until the mid-1640s, shortly after King Frederick III succeeded King Christian IV.
After the Swedish siege on Copenhagen (1658–1660) the Dutch engineer Henrik Rüse was called in to help rebuild and extend the construction. The fortification was named Citadellet Frederikshavn ('The Frederikshavn Citadel'), but it is better known as Kastellet ('the citadel').
Kastellet was part of the defense of Copenhagen against England in the Battle of Copenhagen (1807). During the German invasion of Denmark on 9 April 1940, German troops landing at the nearby harbor captured The Citadel with very little resistance, thereby forcing the Danish government to surrender.
Kastellet was renovated 1989–1999 with funds from the A.P. Møller and Wife Chastine McKinney Møllers General Fund.
A number of buildings are located within the grounds of Kastellet, including a church as well as a windmill. The area houses various military activities but its mainly serves as a public park and a historic site.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.