The Old Town of Bar (Stari Bar) is the largest and the most important medieval archaeological site in the Balkans. It covers the area of 4.5 hectares, where the remains of around 600 public and private edifices are the proof of the existence of various construction phases present in different epochs of the Mediterranean history.
The visual identity of the Old Town of Bar is formed by the ramparts, bastions, towers, a citadel, numerous squares and churches. On the western and northern side, in the immediate surroundings of the ramparts of the Old Town of Bar there is an incompatible ambient whole consisting of the settlement and the suburban area of the Old Bar, while on the southern and eastern side there is a preserved natural setting of the slopes of Mount Rumija.
It is in the historical sources from the 10th century that the Old Town of Bar is mentioned for the first time, however it is assumed that it had existed even in the 6th century in the form of the rehabilitated Roman castrum. It was established in a naturally protected place and surrounded by strong walls with towers and bastions. The residential architecture of the town is characterized by Late Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and oriental elements.
The Old Town of Bar has been deserted since the end of the 19th century. After the 1979 earthquake, technical specifications and project design documents were made, along with the research programmes and the plans for the protection and presentation of the Town core. The most significant structures of the upper part of the town were being explored, conserved and presented during the first and the second round of the works. Yet another drafted and fully implemented project included infrastructural works on the route leading from the main gate to St. George's Cathedral. This clearly shows the unambiguous interest in rehabilitation of certain structures and in reestablishing corresponding functions of the same, all in line with the programmes relative to their purpose. The electrical supply network enabled the installation of public lighting, the illumination of certain monuments and communications. Thanks to the regular investments and technical maintenance related to the cleaning of vegetation, the upper part of the town is accessible to public.
The lower, southern part of the town with the suburban rampart has not been treated and it is rather dilapidated. Ample vegetation endangers the remains of the architecture and makes them invisible.
In the area of the Old Town of Bar there is rich cultural-historic heritage of outstanding significance. The most important single structures in the Old Town of Bar are Main Gate (14th-16th century), Saint Nicola's Church (13th century), Tatarovica Citadel (10th to 19th century) with the military chapel, Aqueduct at Tatarovica and Saint George's Cathedral (11th-15th century) among others.References:
Having lived in a totally modern house for the past 10 years, I now simply love older buildings...older the better in my opinion! I simply love the fact that Stari Bar is steeped in history and dates back to medievel times with its history and architecture. Each building and "newer" layer, will have a story to tell. I now love the history of old buildings so much, that we now live in a 400 year old property!
The Château d'Olhain is probably the most famous castle of the Artois region. It is located in the middle of a lake which reflects its picturesque towers and curtain walls. It was also a major stronghold for the Artois in medieval times and testimony to the power of the Olhain family, first mentioned from the 12th century.
The existence of the castle was known early in the 13th century, but the present construction is largely the work of Jean de Nielles, who married Marie d’Olhain at the end of the 15th century.
The marriage of Alix Nielles to Jean de Berghes, Grand Veneur de France (master of hounds) to the King, meant the castle passed to this family, who kept it for more than 450 years. Once confiscated by Charles Quint, it suffered during the wars that ravaged the Artois. Besieged in 1641 by the French, it was partly demolished by the Spaniards in 1654, and finally blown-up and taken by the Dutch in 1710. Restored in 1830, it was abandoned after 1870, and sold by the last Prince of Berghes in 1900. There is also evidence that one of the castles occupants was related to Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, the person Alexandre Dumas based his Three Musketeers charictor d'Artagnan on.
During the World War I and World War II, the castle was requisitioned first by French troops, then Canadian and British soldiers. The current owner has restored the castle to its former glory.