Monday, December 19, 2016

France, Loire Valley - Château d’Angers

Château d'Angers is located in the Loire region, at the heart of the town of Angers.
The original fortress was constructed because of its strategic position near the Maine River.

Much of the current chateau was constructed by Saint Louis in the early 13th century, between 1230 and 1240, 
on the border of his kingdom. 
For the following centuries it remained an important base for the Angevin Kings.

The chateau is massive, with several hundred metres of defensive walls further reinforced by a total of 17 towers. 
The entrance is through one of the two drawbridges. 
It's one of the very few defensive castles that was never successfully conquered by siege. 
The moat around the Château no longer contains water, but has been planted with attractive French style gardens.

The importance of the Angers Castle peaked in the 14th and 15th centuries, 
and during this period the impressive Apocalypse tapestry was also commissioned 
(the important and substantial work depicts the story of the Apocalypse on a series of six tapestries, 
reaching over 100 metres in length).

The building itself was again further modified and the chapel added at this time to house a fragment of the cross of the crucifixion.

During the 16th century the castle was home to Catherine de Medici. 
Later in the same century her son, Henry III, removed much of the defensive capabilities of the castle, 
with the stone being used to develop the surrounding town.

The importance of the castle diminished, and it was used as a garrison and military training centre. 

The castle was seriously damaged during the Second World War, when a stock of arms inside the castle exploded.

The interior of the castle walls is much less imposing than expected from the outside. 
Within the castle perimeter there are two central courtyards, a chapel, the gardens, and the palaces of the Dukes of Anjou.

Nowadays the castle is well known for its very important and priceless collection of medieval tapestries 
held in the Governors Lodge, including the original Apocalypse Tapestry. 

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