Mont Saint Michel Castle – France
Mont Saint Michel Castle was built during the medieval times following suit with the design current in that era. It was built with two huge towers designed to defend the entrance. At the time it was built, the castle served as a means of preserving the freedom of the people. It also acted as a sanctuary for those who would want to take shelter.
The Island and the Ancient Structures
The island of Mont Saint Michel is located in the Gulf of Saint-Malo in France’s northwestern region. Along with the castle are built many monastic buildings that have been around since the 13th century. These structures are very fine samples of Gothic architecture.
All the structures on the island, including the castle, are crowned by the abbey church that stands 240 feet above sea level. The rock upon which the castle and all the structures of Mont Saint Michel are built measures a height of 84 meters. It is made of pure granite and is tough enough to withstand the rigors of time.
The Italian architect William de Volpiano was commissioned as the building contractor in the 11th century. He was the leading figure in the design of the present Romanesque church that we can see today. An interesting feature of the ancient structures to be seen here are the crypts and chapels located underground. Many of the old buildings in the said area are still standing even to this day.
During the sixth up to the seventh centuries Mont Saint Michel served as a stronghold. However, this role of being the safe keeper of Romano-Breton culture ended when Franks ransacked it in 460 AD. The next major event that is reported about the place is the miraculous appearance of St. Michael, which is for the most part according to legend. This event occurred in 708 AD with St. Aubert as the witness of the event.
The English made repeated attempts to invade Mont Saint Michel. However, every attempt they made ended up in failure. All the said attacks occurred during the so famed Hundred Years’ War. It was during this time in 1420 when fortifications were reinforced. However, in the many sieges, the Romansque choir collapsed.
Since the surrounding rock formations in Mont Saint Michel are made of granite it is no small wonder that many of the architectural structures built here are made out of this material. The abbey, the parish, and the little village that lie huddled within the castle and its fortifications were remodeled in the 15th century. The castle and other structures are fine examples of ancient architectural masterwork.