Great Castles Of Europe

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    Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, France
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    The Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte is a baroque French château located in Maincy, near Melun, 55 kilometres (34 mi) southeast of Paris in the Seine-et-Marne département of France.

    Constructed from 1658 to 1661 for Nicolas Fouquet, Marquis de Belle Île, Viscount of Melun and Vaux, the superintendent of finances of Louis XIV, the château was an influential work of architecture in mid-17th-century Europe. At Vaux-le-Vicomte, the architect Louis Le Vau, the landscape architect André le Nôtre, and the painter-decorator Charles Le Brun worked together on a large-scale project for the first time. Their collaboration marked the beginning of the "Louis XIV style" combining architecture, interior design and landscape design. The garden's pronounced visual axis is an example of this style.[1]


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    Once a small château between the royal residences of Vincennes and Fontainebleau, the estate of Vaux-le-Vicomte was purchased in 1641 by Nicolas Fouquet, an ambitious 26-year-old member of the Parlement of Paris. Fouquet was an avid patron of the arts, attracting many artists with his generosity.

    When Fouquet became King Louis XIV's superintendant of finances in 1657, he commissioned Le Vau, Le Brun and Le Nôtre to renovate his estate and garden to match his grand ambition. Fouquet’s artistic and cultivated personality subsequently brought out the best in the three.[2]

    To secure the necessary grounds for the elaborate plans for Vaux-le-Vicomte’s garden and castle, Fouquet purchased and demolished three villages. The displaced villagers were then employed in the upkeep and maintenance of the gardens. It was said to have employed 18 thousand workers and cost as much as 16 million livres.[3]

    The château and its patron became for a short time a focus for fine feasts, literature and arts. The poet Jean de La Fontaine and the playwright Molière were among the artists close to Fouquet. At the inauguration of Vaux-le-Vicomte, a Molière play was performed, along with a dinner event organized by François Vatel and an impressive firework show.[4]

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    Links

    Vaux-le-Vicomte - Wikipedia
    Day trip from Paris to Vaux le Vicomte
    Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte - Vaux le Vicomte
     
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    Alnwick Castle, UK

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    Alnwick Castle (/ˈænɪk/ ([​IMG] listen)) is a castle and stately home in Alnwick in the English county of Northumberland. It is the seat of the Duke of Northumberland, built following the Norman conquest, and renovated and remodelled a number of times. It is a Grade I listed building[2] and as of 2012 received over 800,000 visitors per year.[3]

    Alnwick Castle guards a road crossing the River Aln.[4] Yves de Vescy, Baron of Alnwick, erected the first parts of the castle in about 1096.[5] Beatrix de Vesci, daughter of Yves de Vescy married Eustace Fitz John, Constable of Chestershire and Knaresborough. By his marriage to Beatrix de Vesci he gained the Baronies of Malton and Alnwick. The castle was first mentioned in 1136 when it was captured by King David I of Scotland.[6] At this point it was described as "very strong".[4] It was besieged in 1172 and again in 1174 by William the Lion, King of Scotland and William was captured outside the walls during the Battle of Alnwick.[7] Eustace de Vesci, lord of Alnwick, was accused of plotting with Robert Fitzwalter against King John in 1212.[8] In response, John ordered the demolition of Alnwick Castle and Baynard's Castle (the latter was Fitzwalter's stronghold);[9] however, his instructions were not carried out at Alnwick.[10]

    The castle had been founded in the late 11th century by Ivo de Vesci, a Norman nobleman from Vassy, Calvados in Normandy. Descendent of Ivo de Vesci, John de Vesci succeeded to his father's titles and estates upon his father's death in Gascony in 1253. These included the barony of Alnwick and a large property in Northumberland and considerable estates in Yorkshire, including Malton. Due to being under age, King Henry III of England conferred the wardship of John's estates to a foreign kinsmen, which caused great offence to the de Vesci family. The family's property and estates had been put into the guardianship of Antony Bek, who sold them to the Percys. From this time the fortunes of the Percys, though they still held their Yorkshire lands and titles, were linked permanently with Alnwick and its castle and have been owned by the Percy family, the Earls and later Dukes of Northumberland since.[11] The stone castle Henry Percy bought was a modest affair, but he immediately began rebuilding. Though he did not live to see its completion, the building programme turned Alnwick into a major fortress along the Anglo-Scottish border. His son, also called Henry (1299–1352), continued the building.[12] The Abbot's Tower, the Middle Gateway and the Constable's Tower survive from this period.[11] The work at Alnwick Castle balanced military requirements with the family's residential needs. It set the template for castle renovations in the 14th century in northern England; several palace-fortresses, considered "extensive, opulent [and] theatrical" date from this period in the region, such as the castles of Bamburgh and Raby.[13] In 1345 the Percys acquired Warkworth Castle, also in Northumberland. Though Alnwick was considered more prestigious, Warkworth became the family's preferred residence.[14]

    The Percy family were powerful lords in northern England. Henry Percy, 1st Earl of Northumberland (1341–1408), rebelled against King Richard II and helped dethrone him. The earl later rebelled against King Henry IV and after defeating the earl in the Battle of Shrewsbury, the king chased him north to Alnwick. The castle surrendered under the threat of bombardment in 1403.[15]

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    Alnwick Castle by J.M.W. Turner
    During the Wars of the Roses, castles were infrequently engaged in battle and conflict was generally based around combat in the field. Alnwick was one of three castles held by Lancastrian forces in 1461 and 1462, and it was there that the "only practical defence of a private castle" was made according to military historian D. J. Cathcart King.[16] It was held against King Edward until its surrender in mid-September 1461 after the Battle of Towton. Re-captured by Sir William Tailboys, during the winter it was surrendered by him to Hastings, Sir John Howard and Sir Ralph Grey of Heton in late July 1462. Grey was appointed captain but surrendered after a sharp siege in the early autumn. King Edward responded with vigour and when the Earl of Warwick arrived in November Queen Margaret and her French advisor, Pierre de Brézé were forced to sail to Scotland for help. They organised a mainly Scots relief force which, under George Douglas, 4th Earl of Angus and de Brézé, set out on 22 November. Warwick's army, commanded by the experienced Earl of Kent and the recently pardoned Lord Scales, prevented news getting through to the starving garrisons. As a result, the nearby Bamburgh and Dunstanburgh castles soon agreed terms and surrendered. But Hungerford and Whittingham held Alnwick until Warwick was forced to withdraw when de Breze and Angus arrived on 5 January 1463.

    The Lancastrians missed a chance to bring Warwick to battle instead being content to retire, leaving behind only a token force which surrendered next day.

    By May 1463 Alnwick was in Lancastrian hands for the third time since Towton, betrayed by Grey of Heton who tricked the commander, Sir John Astley. Astley was imprisoned and Hungerford resumed command.

    After Montagu's triumphs at Hedgeley Moor and Hexham in 1464 Warwick arrived before Alnwick on 23 June and received its surrender next day.

    After the execution of Thomas Percy, 7th Earl of Northumberland, in 1572 Alnwick castle was uninhabited.[12] In the second half of the 18th century Robert Adam carried out many alterations. The interiors were largely in a Strawberry Hill gothic style not at all typical of his work, which was usually neoclassical.

    However, in the 19th century Algernon, 4th Duke of Northumberland replaced much of Adam's architecture. Instead he paid Anthony Salvin £250,000 between 1854 and 1865 to remove the Gothic additions and other architectural work. Salvin is mostly responsible for the kitchen, the Prudhoe Tower, the palatial accommodation, and the layout of the inner ward.[17] According to the official website a large amount of Adam's work survives, but little or none of it remains in the principal rooms shown to the public, which were redecorated in an opulent Italianate style in the Victorian era by Luigi Canina.

    Links

    Alnwick Castle - Wikipedia
    https://www.pinterest.com/alnwickcastle/alnwick-castle-film-locations/
    Harry Potter filming locations guide
     
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    Windsor Castle, UK

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    Windsor Castle is a royal residence at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. It is notable for its long association with the English and later British royal family and for its architecture. The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I, it has been used by the reigning monarch and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. The castle's lavish early 19th-century State Apartments were described by the art historian Hugh Roberts as "a superb and unrivalled sequence of rooms widely regarded as the finest and most complete expression of later Georgian taste".[4] Inside the castle walls is the 15th-century St George's Chapel, considered by the historian John Martin Robinson to be "one of the supreme achievements of English Perpendicular Gothic" design.[5]

    Originally designed to protect Norman dominance around the outskirts of London and oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames, Windsor Castle was built as a motte-and-bailey, with three wards surrounding a central mound. Gradually replaced with stone fortifications, the castle withstood a prolonged siege during the First Barons' War at the start of the 13th century. Henry III built a luxurious royal palace within the castle during the middle of the century, and Edward III went further, rebuilding the palace to make an even grander set of buildings in what would become "the most expensive secular building project of the entire Middle Ages in England".[6] Edward's core design lasted through the Tudor period, during which Henry VIII and Elizabeth I made increasing use of the castle as a royal court and centre for diplomatic entertainment.

    Windsor Castle survived the tumultuous period of the English Civil War, when it was used as a military headquarters by Parliamentary forces and a prison for Charles I. At the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II rebuilt much of Windsor Castle with the help of the architect Hugh May, creating a set of extravagant Baroque interiors that are still admired. After a period of neglect during the 18th century, George III and George IV renovated and rebuilt Charles II's palace at colossal expense, producing the current design of the State Apartments, full of Rococo, Gothic and Baroque furnishings. Queen Victoria made a few minor changes to the castle, which became the centre for royal entertainment for much of her reign. Windsor Castle was used as a refuge by the royal family during the Luftwaffe bombing campaigns of the Second World War and survived a fire in 1992. It is a popular tourist attraction, a venue for hosting state visits, and the preferred weekend home of Elizabeth II.

    Links

    Windsor Castle - Wikipedia
    Windsor Castle
    Royal Residences: Windsor Castle
     
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    Balmoral Castle, UK
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    Balmoral Castle /bælˈmɒrəl/ is a large estate house in Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, near the village of Crathie, 6.2 miles (10 km) west of Ballater and 6.8 miles (11 km) east of Braemar.

    Balmoral has been one of the residences for members of the British Royal Family since 1852, when the estate and its original castle were purchased privately by Prince Albert, consort to Queen Victoria. They remain as the private property of the royal family and are not the property of the Crown.

    Soon after the estate was purchased by the royal family, the existing house was found to be too small and the current Balmoral Castle was commissioned. The architect was William Smith of Aberdeen, although his designs were amended by Prince Albert.

    The castle is an example of Scots Baronial architecture, and is classified by Historic Scotland as a category A listed building.[1] The new castle was completed in 1856 and the old castle demolished shortly thereafter.

    The Balmoral Estate has been added to by successive members of the royal family, and now covers an area of approximately 50,000 acres (20,000 ha). It is a working estate, including grouse moors, forestry, and farmland, as well as managed herds of deer, Highland cattle, and ponies.

    Links
    Balmoral Castle - Wikipedia
    Balmoral - The Scottish holiday home to the Royal Family.
    Balmoral Castle
     
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    Neuschwanstein Castle, FRG
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    Neuschwanstein Castle (German: Schloss Neuschwanstein, pronounced [nɔʏˈʃvaːnʃtaɪn], English: "New Swanstone Castle"[1]) is a 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as a homage to Richard Wagner. Ludwig paid for the palace out of his personal fortune and by means of extensive borrowing, rather than Bavarian public funds.

    The castle was intended as a home for the king, until he died in 1886. It was open to the public shortly after his death.[2] Since then more than 61 million people have visited Neuschwanstein Castle.[3] More than 1.3 million people visit annually, with as many as 6,000 per day in the summer.[4] The palace has appeared prominently in several movies such as Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Great Escape and serves as the inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle[5] and later, similar structures.

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    Links
    Neuschwanstein Castle - Wikipedia
    Neuschwanstein – The Fairytale Castle
    25 Enchanting Facts About Neuschwanstein Castle
     
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    Castle of Coco, Spain

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    Coca, Segovia


    Coca is a municipality in the province of Segovia, central Spain, part of the autonomous community of Castile and Leon. It is located 50 kilometres northwest of the provincial capital city of Segovia, and 60 kilometres from Valladolid. Coca is known for its 15th-century Mudéjar castle, and as the birthplace of Roman Emperor Theodosius I. The town had a population of 2,131 in 2009.


    The town is surrounded by pine forests which contribute to the economy of the town and the region.
    Coca, Segovia - Wikipedia
     
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    Château de Chenonceau, France

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    The Château de Chenonceau (French: [ʃɑto də ʃənɔ̃so]) is a French château spanning the River Cher, near the small village of Chenonceaux in the Indre-et-Loire département of the Loire Valley in France. It is one of the best-known châteaux of the Loire valley.[1]

    The estate of Chenonceau is first mentioned in writing in the 11th century.[2] The current château was built in 1514–1522 on the foundations of an old mill and was later extended to span the river. The bridge over the river was built (1556-1559) to designs by the French Renaissance architect Philibert de l'Orme, and the gallery on the bridge, built from 1570–1576 to designs by Jean Bullant.[3]

    Description
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    View of the château from the edge of the formal gardens to the west of the residence. The medieval keep to the left is the last vestige of the previous château, located in what is now the forecourt, still surrounded by moats.
    An architectural mixture of late Gothic and early Renaissance, Château de Chenonceau and its gardens are open to the public. Other than the Royal Palace of Versailles, it is the most visited château in France.

    The château has been classified as a Monument historique since 1840 by the French Ministry of Culture.[4] Today, Chenonceau is a major tourist attraction and in 2007 received around 800,000 visitors.[5]

    History
    The Marques family

    In the 13th century, the fief of Chenonceau belonged to the Marques family. The original château was torched in 1412 to punish owner Jean Marques for an act of sedition. He rebuilt a château and fortified mill on the site in the 1430s. Jean Marques's indebted heir Pierre Marques found it necessary to sell.

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    Links

    Château de Chenonceau - Wikipedia
    Château de Chenonceau - Chenonceau, Indre-et-Loire, France
     
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