Château de Roquebrune-Cap-Martin

Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France

Conrad I, Count of Vintimiglia, built the castle in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in 970 to defend the Western border of his feudal domain from attack by hordes of Saracens that rampaged around the area. Initially the entire village was encompassed by the castle. The keep's military strength was reinforced in the 15th century by the Grimaldi family. In 1808  the castle was sold as a Bien National to five Roquebrune inhabitants. A century later, in 1911, it was sold again – this time to wealthy Englishman Sir William Ingram, who set about renovating it but eventually gave it to the town of Roquebrune in 1921. The castle overlooks the medieval village and its atmospheric alleyways, sometimes carved out of the rock itself.

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Details

Founded: 970 AD
Category: Castles and fortifications in France
Historical period: Frankish kingdoms (France)

More Information

www.rcm-tourisme.com

Rating

4.5/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Jane Fay (2 years ago)
Fantastic ....the village,the views,the people. Amazing area
Alexandra Mel (2 years ago)
The old village of Roquebrune is like a cart postal, with the narrow streets next to the medieval castle and the amazing views of côté de azur.
Alessio Claudio Cavezzan (2 years ago)
Magnificent panorama over Monaco Monte Carlo and surrounding coast . Do not miss it in a clear sky day.
Chris Ryan (3 years ago)
Nice views and interesting though some of the changes made (decades ago) are unusual.
Videoturysta EU (3 years ago)
Amazing castle from the 10th century. You have to climb a little since it's located on the hilltop. However you will have awesome views of the Mediterranean coast from the castle.
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Broch of Gurness

The Broch of Gurness is an Iron Age broch village. Settlement here began sometime between 500 and 200 BC. At the centre of the settlement is a stone tower or broch, which once probably reached a height of around 10 metres. Its interior is divided into sections by upright slabs. The tower features two skins of drystone walls, with stone-floored galleries in between. These are accessed by steps. Stone ledges suggest that there was once an upper storey with a timber floor. The roof would have been thatched, surrounded by a wall walk linked by stairs to the ground floor. The broch features two hearths and a subterranean stone cistern with steps leading down into it. It is thought to have some religious significance, relating to an Iron Age cult of the underground.

The remains of the central tower are up to 3.6 metres high, and the stone walls are up to 4.1 metres thick. The tower was likely inhabited by the principal family or clan of the area but also served as a last resort for the village in case of an attack.

The broch continued to be inhabited while it began to collapse and the original structures were altered. The cistern was filled in and the interior was repartitioned. The ruin visible today reflects this secondary phase of the broch's use.

The site is surrounded by three ditches cut out of the rock with stone ramparts, encircling an area of around 45 metres diameter. The remains of numerous small stone dwellings with small yards and sheds can be found between the inner ditch and the tower. These were built after the tower, but were a part of the settlement's initial conception. A 'main street' connects the outer entrance to the broch. The settlement is the best-preserved of all broch villages.

Pieces of a Roman amphora dating to before 60 AD were found here, lending weight to the record that a 'King of Orkney' submitted to Emperor Claudius at Colchester in 43 AD.

At some point after 100 AD the broch was abandoned and the ditches filled in. It is thought that settlement at the broch continued into the 5th century AD, the period known as Pictish times. By that time the broch was not used anymore and some of its stones were reused to build smaller dwellings on top of the earlier buildings. Until about the 8th century, the site was just a single farmstead.

In the 9th century, a Norse woman was buried at the site in a stone-lined grave with two bronze brooches and a sickle and knife made from iron. Other finds suggest that Norse men were buried here too.