16 January 2008

Off with is' ed'

You walk out into the light and realise that you’re on top of a bridge spanning between the two massive turrets of a medieval castle. As you walk into the door leading to the turret you notice an ancient stone spiral steps running downward. You follow the steps past the ground level and start to wonder about the eerie candles lighting the way down toward what could only be the dungeon.

You would honestly think that you had stepped back 600 years in time when you arrive at the Beynac Castle. We were lucky enough to get there in the middle of the off season which meant for the first 2 hours we were the only ones there. Everything about the castle was authentic, which when you’re the only ones there, gave you an amazing perspective of what it was really like when King Richard the First (the Lion Heart) walked the steps from the Dungeons up the stairs and across the Draw Bridge to the Ancient Church within the Castle walls.

The Castle as a whole is precariously positioned at the top of 150 foot cliff which looks of on the Dordonge River which winds its way through the Perigord province of regional France and is located a few kms south from Sarlat, a beautiful medieval town in Perigord. During the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries this fortresswas French during a certain period, then English, and again French in 1453.

The oldest part of the castle is a large, square-shaped, keep with vertical sides and few openings, held together with attached watch towers and equipped with a narrow spiral staircase terminating on a crenellated terrace. To one side, a residence of the same period is attached; it was remodelled and enlarged in the 16th and 17th centuries. On the other side is a partly 14th century residence side-by-side with a courtyard and a square plan staircase serving the 17th century apartments. The apartments have kept their woodwork and a painted ceiling from the 17th century.

We toured around the castle for most of the day. Althought the weather was a bit drizzly it didn't take any of the magic away form what was an amzing day.

1 comment:

melissa the kisser said...

oh that castle looks splendid and proper castle-y! sometimes i miss europe and its imposing history. but then i remember i live near gouger street and that makes me happier.