A fortress up on high standing the test of time. Witness to countless conflicts both blood and gore. This is the hilltop fortress of Carcassonne.
We were driving down south from Perigord, enroute to Provence.
And when you are in this part of France, you cannot miss out on this venerable old dame of fortresses. Did you know that this fortress hails back to Roman times? You see, this is a rather strategic spot and very early in history it was recognized as such. Built over and enlarged time and again by successive regimes, it has evolved to its current 53 barbicans! For those who do not know what a Barbican is – it is a fortified gateway/outpost. A sort of tower flanked by high walls.
You know in medieval times there was much political uncertainty. The nobility fought constantly amongst themselves, treating the common folks as their property to use – perhaps little different from livestock. So this fortress was the scene of many a siege that led to much widowing, orphaning and grief. But over the centuries it became derelict and abandoned.
We are so lucky that it was not demolished in the mid 1800s but salvaged by the local townspeople. Though not all restored to perfect and exact construction of the ancients and medieval times, it nevertheless left us with a monument that links us back to that time in history.
Today this fortress is still inhabited by a small number of folks that are descended from the original villagers. It is a unique experience to walk its cobbled stone streets and imagine how life was like during those sieges.
Explore this fortress with us! And tell us if this will motivate you to make your own journey to this amazing place.