Château de Durfort was erected on a rocky piton which overlooks the valley of the Orbieu. The present ruins are those of a strengthened habitat, including a chapel, dwellings with rectangular windows and a tower. High thick walls, cellars and wells, arched rooms of square buildings, corner turrets, watch towers and a main tower are still visible.
There is no documentary evidence for the initial construction of this fortress. The earliest written references mentioning the castle date from 1093.
After the Crusades against Cathars in the mid-13th century, the royal power confirmed its conquest of the region by building five large fortresses and a network of watch towers. The Château de Durfort was written into this defensive system, aimed at protecting the new frontiers of the Kingdom of France.
In 1659, Louis XIV signed the Treaty of the Pyrenees with the Kingdom of Spain. This treaty altered the borders, giving Roussillon to France. The frontier advanced to the crests of the Pyrenees and the various fortresses of the region lost their strategic importance. The Château de Durfort was, therefore, altered to make it more comfortable.
In the 18th century, the castle seems to have been abandoned but its isolated position served to preserve its ruins. Today, the castle is private property; it may be visited free of charge with prior authorisation from the owners. The building is not preserved or maintained; there is a risk of falling stones.References:
The Seaplane Harbour is the newest and one of the most exciting museums in Tallinn. It tells stories about the Estonian maritime and military history. The museum’s display, that comprises of more than a couple of hundred large exhibits, revitalizes the colourful history of Estonia.
British built submarine Lembit weighing 600 tones is the centrepiece of the new museum. Built in 1936 for the Estonian navy, Lembit served in the World War II under the Soviet flag. It remained in service for 75 years being the oldest submarine in the World still in use until it was hauled ashore in 2011. Despite its long history, Lembit is still in an excellent condition offering a glimpse of the 1930s art of technology.
Another exciting attraction is a full-scale replica of Short Type 184, a British pre-World War II seaplane, which was also used by the Estonian armed forces. Short Type 184 has earned its place in military history by being the first aircraft ever to attack an enemy’s ship with an air-launched torpedo. Since none of the original seaplanes have survived, the replica in Seaplane Harbour is the only full-size representation of the aircraft in the whole World.
Simulators mimicking a flight above Tallinn, around-the-world journey in the yellow submarine, navigating on the Tallinn bay make this museum heaven for kids or adventurous adults.
Seaplane Harbour operates in architecturally unique hangars built almost a century ago, in 1916 and 1917, as a part of Peter the Great sea fortress. These hangars are the World’s first reinforced concrete shell structures of such a great size. Charles Lindbergh, the man who performed the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, landed here in 1930s.
On the outdoor area visitors can tour a collection of historic ships, including the Suur Tõll, Europe's largest steam-powered icebreaker.