The Château de Rustéphan is a small, ruined 15th-16th century manor-house erected by Jean Du Faou, chamberlain of France and grand seneschal of Brittany, who built the domaine in 1420. According to tradition, the original manor was built by the son of a Duke of Brittany, named Étienne, Count of Penthièvre and seigneur of Nizon, who died in 1137.The current structure was built by Jean du Faou. According to some historians, it was a former hunting lodge of the Dukes of Brittany, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Its position, at the entrance of large woods that covers the entire parish of Nizon, and which abounds in game, can make this opinion very plausible. During the French Revolution, more than half of the manor-house was burned and destroyed.
Of the ancient manor-house nothing remains but two sections about twenty metres in height, surrounded by ivy, brambles and weeds. The section on the left, the gable wall, contains a corner turret on corbelling, immense hooded fireplaces as well as the remains of some stone cross-pieced windows. The section on the right contains the staircase tower, as well as some remains of internal walls, the entrance vestibule, etc. The main entry door is topped by a Gothic arch. The former wall of the front façade has fallen away and the stones carried off in the last century.It is believed that the manor-house once consisted of a rectangular corps de logis and had turrets at each of the corners, as well as the large central staircase tower.
Nearly all the residents of Nizon believe that the ghosts of former village residents Géneviève de Rustéphan and Iannick ar Flécher still haunt the château today. This true 16th century story is a tragic tale of a commoner (Iannick) who fell in love with the daughter (Géneviève) of the local seigneur of Faou. Their two families did not approve of the relationship, and Iannick was forced to become a priest and leave town. The young woman died broken-hearted and her spirit is said to haunt the ruins to this day. It has been reported that the apparition of an old, sad priest (Iannick) has also been seen lurking around the ruins. Village inhabitants used to gather in the grassy space in front the ruins of the château to dance and celebrate various holidays, however after numerous reported sightings of unexplained figures seen watching them from within the ruins, they learned to stay away from the place on moonlit nights when the spirits were said to appear.
The local people of Nizon are trying to save the remains of the château from further vandalism and effects of the weather. There is an effort underway to reinforce the walls and tower and try to keep the structure from falling down.References:
From its origin as a small stronghold built by the ancient Illyrian tribe Dalmatae, becoming a royal castle that was the seat of many Croatian kings, to its final development as a large fortress during the Ottoman wars in Europe, Klis Fortress has guarded the frontier, being lost and re-conquered several times. Due to its location on a pass that separates the mountains Mosor and Kozjak, the fortress served as a major source of defense in Dalmatia, especially against the Ottoman advance, and has been a key crossroad between the Mediterranean belt and the Balkan rear.
Since Duke Mislav of the Duchy of Croatia made Klis Fortress the seat of his throne in the middle of the 9th century, the fortress served as the seat of many Croatia"s rulers. The reign of his successor, Duke Trpimir I, the founder of the Croatian royal House of Trpimirović, is significant for spreading Christianity in the Duchy of Croatia. He largely expanded the Klis Fortress, and in Rižinice, in the valley under the fortress, he built a church and the first Benedictine monastery in Croatia. During the reign of the first Croatian king, Tomislav, Klis and Biograd na Moru were his chief residences.
In March 1242 at Klis Fortress, Tatars who were a constituent segment of the Mongol army under the leadership of Kadan suffered a major defeat while in pursuit of the Hungarian army led by King Béla IV. After their defeat by Croatian forces, the Mongols retreated, and Béla IV rewarded many Croatian towns and nobles with 'substantial riches'. During the Late Middle Ages, the fortress was governed by Croatian nobility, amongst whom Paul I Šubić of Bribir was the most significant. During his reign, the House of Šubić controlled most of modern-day Croatia and Bosnia. Excluding the brief possession by the forces of Bosnian King, Tvrtko I, the fortress remained in Hungaro-Croatian hands for the next several hundred years, until the 16th century.
Klis Fortress is probably best known for its defense against the Ottoman invasion of Europe in the early 16th century. Croatian captain Petar Kružić led the defense of the fortress against a Turkish invasion and siege that lasted for more than two and a half decades. During this defense, as Kružić and his soldiers fought without allies against the Turks, the military faction of Uskoks was formed, which later became famous as an elite Croatian militant sect. Ultimately, the defenders were defeated and the fortress was occupied by the Ottomans in 1537. After more than a century under Ottoman rule, in 1669, Klis Fortress was besieged and seized by the Republic of Venice, thus moving the border between Christian and Muslim Europe further east and helping to contribute to the decline of the Ottoman Empire. The Venetians restored and enlarged the fortress, but it was taken by the Austrians after Napoleon extinguished the republic itself in 1797. Today, Klis Fortress contains a museum where visitors to this historic military structure can see an array of arms, armor, and traditional uniforms.