Bayonne Citadel

Bayonne, France

Bayonne has been inhabited since roman times, when it was known as Lapurdum. Its medieval fortifications were improved by Louis XII, and Francois I, enabling the town to defend itself against a Spanish army in 1523.

Vauban visited Bayonne sometime in the 1670's, and planned more improvements to the fortifications, including the construction of additional demi-lunes and a large, quadrangular citadel to the north of the river Adour. The city itself, which lies to the south of the Adour and is bisected by the river Nive, was surrounded by a wall of 9 rather eccentric bastions.

The citadel was designed from scratch by Vauban, and is a large square work with four bastions. It saw action against the invading British forces at the end of the Peninsular War, when it was taken by General Hill after a determined defence by the French.

The fortifications of Petit Bayonne, the eastern half of the town, had four bastions and one gate, the Porte de Notre Dame. To the west, Grand Bayonne had five bastions and two gates, the Porte d'Espagne and the Porte de la Poterne. The first gate is unusual in that it enters the walls through a bastion, not through the courtine as is normally the case.

The size and shape of each bastion is very different, and there are varying lengths between them, which makes the fortifications seem less regular than some. This is probably due to the way Bayonne was fortified in several stages, with improvements added gradually.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 1670s
Category: Castles and fortifications in France

User Reviews

Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

The Church of the Holy Cross

The church of the former Franciscan monastery was built probably between 1515 and 1520. It is located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Rauma. The church stands by the small stream of Raumanjoki (Rauma river).

The exact age of the Church of the Holy Cross is unknown, but it was built to serve as the monastery church of the Rauma Franciscan Friary. The monastery had been established in the early 15th century and a wooden church was built on this location around the year 1420.

The Church of the Holy Cross served the monastery until 1538, when it was abandoned for a hundred years as the Franciscan friary was disbanded in the Swedish Reformation. The church was re-established as a Lutheran church in 1640, when the nearby Church of the Holy Trinity was destroyed by fire.

The choir of the two-aisle grey granite church features medieval murals and frescoes. The white steeple of the church was built in 1816 and has served as a landmark for seafarers.