The Bertheaume fort is a small part of the large coherent system of small forts and batteries designed to protect the entrance to Brest harbour. It is situated on a small island just 100m off the coast of the town of Plougonvelin. It was only accessible at low tide by foot over a rocky bank, attackers had to climb the steep cliffs first to reach the walls of the fort, an impossible job.
The medieval fort that used to be situated on the island was destroyed during an English attack in the 16th century. On his inspections of the Brest region in 1683 the famous architect Sebastien Vauban had already noticed the strategic value of the island and wanted to build a battery there.
The first cannon were placed there during the English attack in 1694 and the fort was finished in 1699. The original fortifications where situated only on the large island. The buildings on the smaller island closest to the mainland date from the 19th century. The fort on the large island consists of batteries for cannon on 4 levels connected with stairs. At some places the bases of the chauguettes can still be seen on the walls and posterns gave access to the foot of the walls.
In the past the island was only accessible by a boat at high tide. This was a small boat connected to a rope running from the mainland to the island. By pulling the rope the boat went to or from the island. The current steel bridge dates from the 20th century. In the late 19th century the fort was abandoned and was replaced by the more modern casemated fort on the mainland. The Nazis built a small blockhouse on the island.
In the 1990s the Fort de Betheaume was restored and opened to the public. Apart from the visit of the fort it also offers a survival track (only available when the weather conditions allow it). The fort is open to the public all year round. A small restaurant and various exhibition rooms are located in the 19th century fort. There you can also visit the underground powder magazine, carved in the rocks 13m below ground level.References:
Angelokastro is a Byzantine castle on the island of Corfu. It is located at the top of the highest peak of the island"s shoreline in the northwest coast near Palaiokastritsa and built on particularly precipitous and rocky terrain. It stands 305 m on a steep cliff above the sea and surveys the City of Corfu and the mountains of mainland Greece to the southeast and a wide area of Corfu toward the northeast and northwest.
Angelokastro is one of the most important fortified complexes of Corfu. It was an acropolis which surveyed the region all the way to the southern Adriatic and presented a formidable strategic vantage point to the occupant of the castle.
Angelokastro formed a defensive triangle with the castles of Gardiki and Kassiopi, which covered Corfu"s defences to the south, northwest and northeast.
The castle never fell, despite frequent sieges and attempts at conquering it through the centuries, and played a decisive role in defending the island against pirate incursions and during three sieges of Corfu by the Ottomans, significantly contributing to their defeat.
During invasions it helped shelter the local peasant population. The villagers also fought against the invaders playing an active role in the defence of the castle.
The exact period of the building of the castle is not known, but it has often been attributed to the reigns of Michael I Komnenos and his son Michael II Komnenos. The first documentary evidence for the fortress dates to 1272, when Giordano di San Felice took possession of it for Charles of Anjou, who had seized Corfu from Manfred, King of Sicily in 1267.
From 1387 to the end of the 16th century, Angelokastro was the official capital of Corfu and the seat of the Provveditore Generale del Levante, governor of the Ionian islands and commander of the Venetian fleet, which was stationed in Corfu.
The governor of the castle (the castellan) was normally appointed by the City council of Corfu and was chosen amongst the noblemen of the island.
Angelokastro is considered one of the most imposing architectural remains in the Ionian Islands.