Published: September 24, 2017
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The Medieval Citadel of Carcassonne

Photos of the Cité, the citadel of Carcassonne, including Condal Castle, and the citadel surroundings.

The Narbonne Gate

The Narbonne Gate - Carcassonne, France East entrance to the citadel of Carcassonne, where you can see the towers of the gate, forming a small defensive fortification in the inner wall. On the bottom left, the access to the drawbridge that allows to cross the pit between the inner and outer walls of the fortress. On the bottom center, the sculpture of Lady Carcas, which can be better seen in a later photo.

Panoramic view of the citadel from the New bridge ("Pont Neuf")

Panoramic view of the citadel from the New bridge (Pont Neuf) - Carcassonne, France The citadel of Carcassonne over the hill, where you can see the inner and outer walls, as well as the Count’s Castle ("Château Comtal") on the center of the picture. On the right, the Old bridge ("Pont Vieux"), the most direct way to walk to the citadel from the modern city of Carcassonne, unless you’re up for a swim.

West part of the fortress of Carcassonne and the Pyrenees mountain range

West part of the fortress of Carcassonne and the Pyrenees mountain range - Carcassonne, France On the left is "Rue Avant Porte de l’Aude" (the street in front of Aude Gate) parallel to the wall. In the horizon you can see the silhouette of the Pyrenees mountain range. The street next to the outer wall and the lower tower is the one taken by Robin of Locksley to escape from Nottingham Castle in the movie "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves."

Outer wall of the citadel of Carcassonne

Outer wall of the citadel of Carcassonne - Carcassonne, France This wall was built in the 13th century, becoming the first line of defense of the fortress.

Inner wall of the fortress

Inner wall of the fortress - Carcassonne, France The inner wall was originally built by the Roman Empire, and many sections date from the 3rd century. As shown on the picture, many different types of materials were used along centuries of reconstructions.

Altar with statue of Virgin Mary in the Narbonne Gate

Altar with statue of Virgin Mary in the Narbonne Gate - Carcassonne, France

Bust of Lady Carcas in front of the Narbonne Gate

Bust of Lady Carcas in front of the Narbonne Gate - Carcassonne, France Sculpture of the Saracen princess who, according to legend, resisted Charlemagne’s forces, and retained control of the citadel.

Barbican entrance to Comtal Castle

Barbican entrance to Comtal Castle - Carcassonne, France

Entrance to Comtal Castle or the Count's Castle of Carcassonne

Entrance to Comtal Castle or the Count's Castle of Carcassonne - Carcassonne, France The last line of defense in this impregnable fortress, which for centuries was never taken by force. Even nowadays, not even tourists can take it by force and must pay their entrance fee if they are to enter the castle. The castle’s narrow bridge forces any invading force to adopt a disadvantageous line formation, leaving it exposed to attacks from both flanks coming from the defensive towers on the sides of the bridge.

Tower and bridge of Comtal/Count's Castle

Tower and bridge of Comtal/Count's Castle - Carcassonne, France The south tower of the castle, the curtain wall next to the twin towers of the entrance, and below, the access bridge.

The bridge, towers and curtain walls of Count's Castle

The bridge, towers and curtain walls of Count's Castle - Carcassonne, France In the pit you can see the garden of the Count’s Castle, which can be accessed through the north part of the citadel. This area of Carcassonne was also used in the final scenes of "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" when Robin and Azeem are catapulted over the wall by Will Scarlett in order to access the barbican of the castle, and obviously to avoid the entrance fee, and then they run along this bridge to attempt and rescue Marian from the Sheriff of Nottingham.

Saint Nazaire basilica

Saint Nazaire basilica - Carcassonne, France The basilica in the south part of the citadel dates from the 10th century, although the building’s construction was completed in the 12th century. The building combines Romanesque and Gothic styles due to the several modifications and reconstructions, such as the addition of gargoyles, the rose window, the spire or the modification of the apse.

Walls along the street in front of the Aude Gate in the west side of the citadel

Walls along the street in front of the Aude Gate in the west side of the citadel - Carcassonne, France

Detail of the capital of a double-arched window of the Cité of Carcassonne

Detail of the capital of a double-arched window of the Cité of Carcassonne - Carcassonne, France Biforium or bifora window in a gallery of the west inner wall of the citadel, over the Aude Gate.

Detail of a capital in the inner wall of the citadel of Carcassonne

Detail of a capital in the inner wall of the citadel of Carcassonne - Carcassonne, France

Wooden gallery on the wall of the Count's Castle

Wooden gallery on the wall of the Count's Castle - Carcassonne, France View from the inner courtyard of the castle.

Streets of the medieval citadel of Carcassonne

Streets of the medieval citadel of Carcassonne - Carcassonne, France There are several restaurants and craft shops in the citadel, which have been integrated into the medieval town while keeping an ancient aspect n its streets as much as possible.

The towers and drawbridge at the Narbonne Gate

The towers and drawbridge at the Narbonne Gate - Carcassonne, France A view of the pit around the Cité of Carcassonne by the Narbonne Gate.

Interior of the Saint Nazaire basilica in the citadel of Carcassonne

Interior of the Saint Nazaire basilica in the citadel of Carcassonne - Carcassonne, France This basilica suffered severe damages during the Albigensian crusade, the war of pope Innocent III against the Cathars, and the original Romanesque structure was modified by incorporating Gothic elements, such as the ogival or pointed arches and quadripartite vaults on the picture, creating a particular basilica from an architectural standpoint, which blends both styles.

South façade rose window of the Saint Nazaire basilica of Carcassone

South façade rose window of the Saint Nazaire basilica of Carcassone - Carcassonne, France

Detail of the capitals and archivolt on the north portal of the Saint Nazaire basilica

Detail of the capitals and archivolt on the north portal of the Saint Nazaire basilica - Carcassonne, France

Gargoyle and tower of the north transept of the Saint Nazaire basilica

Gargoyle and tower of the north transept of the Saint Nazaire basilica - Carcassonne, France

Statue of Joan of Arc in the Saint Nazaire basilica

Statue of Joan of Arc in the Saint Nazaire basilica - Carcassonne, France

Quadripartite vault next to the rose window on the basilica's north façade

Quadripartite vault next to the rose window on the basilica's north façade - Carcassonne, France Interior view of the rose window’s tracery in the Saint Nazaire basilica, and the adjacent Gothic vault.

The walls of the Cité of Carcassonne

The walls of the Cité of Carcassonne - Carcassonne, France On this photo you can appreciate the different lines of defense of the citadel.

Detail of a Gallo-Roman tower in the north section of the inner wall

Detail of a Gallo-Roman tower in the north section of the inner wall - Carcassonne, France

Saint-Paul tower of the Count's Castle

Saint-Paul tower of the Count's Castle - Carcassonne, France Here you can see the tiled cupola and the restoration of the upper section.

Gallo-Roman tower "de la Marquière" next to the Rodez Gate

Gallo-Roman tower de la Marquière next to the Rodez Gate - Carcassonne, France In this photo you can better see the variations in the wall’s composition, including the most ancient Roman layers with red brick, and the later reconstructions at the Rodez Gate.

The Rodez Gate

The Rodez Gate - Carcassonne, France North gate of the inner wall of the citadel.

Tower de la Marquière

Tower de la Marquière - Carcassonne, France Tower of the inner wall, outer wall and the palestra between the walls of the citadel.

Interior courtyard of the Count's Castle

Interior courtyard of the Count's Castle - Carcassonne, France The construction of Comtal Castle begins in the 12th century with the building on the left, next to the Roman wall.

Comtal castle bridge and towers Casernes and Major

Comtal castle bridge and towers Casernes and Major - Carcassonne, France The garden, bridge and towers of the Count’s Castle ("Tour de Casernes" and "Tour du Major").

Interior of a tower with arrowslits on the south part of the citadel

Interior of a tower with arrowslits on the south part of the citadel - Carcassonne, France Compartment with multiple loopholes and a wide viewing angle in one of the towers of the inner wall.

The modern city of Carcassonne viewed from the medieval city

The modern city of Carcassonne viewed from the medieval city - Carcassonne, France At the top, between the buildings of Carcassonne, the church of Saint Vincent stands out, which is a Gothic building with an octagonal bell tower.

Street in front of Aude Gate

Street in front of Aude Gate - Carcassonne, France The west access to the citadel.

Cupola of Tower "of Justice" near the Aude Gate in the west side of the Cité of Carcassonne

Cupola of Tower of Justice near the Aude Gate in the west side of the Cité of Carcassonne - Carcassonne, France

The Notre-Dame or Rigal tower of the outer wall of the Carcassonne fortress

The Notre-Dame or Rigal tower of the outer wall of the Carcassonne fortress - Carcassonne, France External view of the Rigal tower or Notre-Dame tower and, on the right, "les lices," also known as palestra, the path between the walls that was frequently used by knights during medieval times as a training ground.

View from the ramparts walk on the inner wall of the citadel

View from the ramparts walk on the inner wall of the citadel - Carcassonne, France View towards the south of the medieval city up to the Pyrenees, whose snow-covered peaks can be distinguished on the left, and, on the right, the "Grand Brulas" tower of the southwest corner of the outer wall.

Detail of a tower from the Roman period in the inner wall of the Cité of Carcassonne

Detail of a tower from the Roman period in the inner wall of the Cité of Carcassonne - Carcassonne, France The bricks and materials used in the walls vary due to the restorations and reconstructions performed throughout time.

Complete view of a Roman tower of the inner wall of the citadel

Complete view of a Roman tower of the inner wall of the citadel - Carcassonne, France

North transept tower of the Saint-Nazaire church of Carcassonne

North transept tower of the Saint-Nazaire church of Carcassonne - Carcassonne, France

Wooden frame of a cupola of a tower in the inner wall

Wooden frame of a cupola of a tower in the inner wall - Carcassonne, France

Detail of a round tower and its scaly-looking cupola

Detail of a round tower and its scaly-looking cupola - Carcassonne, France These cupolas are part of the reconstruction of the medieval city performed during the 19th century by the Parisian architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc.

Towers and curtain walls of the Count's Castle

Towers and curtain walls of the Count's Castle - Carcassonne, France Photo of the walls and their wooden galleries between the towers of the castle, as seen from the bridge.

The Count's Castle and the Pinte tower

The Count's Castle and the Pinte tower - Carcassonne, France The Pinte tower of the castle stands out due to its rectangular shape. The original aspect of many of these towers was modified in the 19th century with the addition of cupolas, during the restoration carried out by Viollet-le-Duc. Viollet-le-Duc was criticized at the time for granting a northern look to the castle towers and for not preserving the exact original aspect, but just as it has happened for centuries in the case of the walls, the work on the towers had to be adapted to structural needs and conditions, according to the knowledge and criteria of the period. Nevertheless the variety of towers grant the citadel an original and memorable appearance.

Interior of the Notre-Dame tower in the outer wall of the Cité de Carcassonne

Interior of the Notre-Dame tower in the outer wall of the Cité de Carcassonne - Carcassonne, France Ramparts walk and merlons of the Notre-Dame tower in the northern outer wall.

Detail of a Gallo-Roman tower in the inner wall

Detail of a Gallo-Roman tower in the inner wall - Carcassonne, France Detail of the Roman towers, which protrude from the walls with a characteristic horseshoe shape, the roof structure and the embrasures or loopholes.

View from the ramparts walk of the inner wall of the Cité of Carcassonne

View from the ramparts walk of the inner wall of the Cité of Carcassonne - Carcassonne, France Each merlon has an arrow slit, which allowed archers to shoot while still protected behind a merlon, instead of exposing themselves to perform the shot between merlons, as was customary in other fortresses.

Carcassonne mural on Trivalle street

Carcassonne mural on Trivalle street - Carcassonne, France A section of the fresco made by Cité Création in 1991 on the wall of Notre-Dame de l’Abbaye on Trivalle street, near the Old Bridge, which depicts scenes from the history of Carcassonne in each of its 11 letters.

Carcassonne mural

Carcassonne mural - Carcassonne, France Construction scene of the second wall (1226-1285) and founding of the lower city (1247), between the Cité and the Old bridge.

Carcassonne mural - Cour d'Amour / Court of Love

Carcassonne mural - Cour d'Amour / Court of Love - Carcassonne, France The second A letter in Carcassonne, with a depiction of a lady and a knight holding a bird under an elm, resembling a tree of life, and a joust in which the knight battles wearing the colors of his lady. On the right, the first S in Carcassonne, with a creature of demonic or fallen angel appearance.

Detail of a tower of the citadel's wall

Detail of a tower of the citadel's wall - Carcassonne, France Tower "du Coin" on the southwest corner of the inner wall of the citadel, seen from the battlements walk. The tower’s window is a type of window with hinges, known as "Volet à rouleaux", which allowed faraway observation as well as communication with guards on the battlements walk, and furthermore they stayed closed by gravity, protecting from liquid or arrow rain.

The towers of Narbonne Gate

The towers of Narbonne Gate - Carcassonne, France

Panorama from the walls of the medieval city

Panorama from the walls of the medieval city - Carcassonne, France A view of the Languedoc-Roussillon region from the battlements walk of the inner wall. On this picture you can distinguish the snow-covered peaks of the Pyrenees along the horizon.

The Pont Vieux and the Cité of Carcassonne

The Pont Vieux and the Cité of Carcassonne - Carcassonne, France The Old bridge over Aude River.

Media (55)

The Narbonne Gate - ThumbnailPanoramic view of the citadel from the New bridge (Pont Neuf) - ThumbnailWest part of the fortress of Carcassonne and the Pyrenees mountain range - ThumbnailOuter wall of the citadel of Carcassonne - ThumbnailInner wall of the fortress - ThumbnailAltar with statue of Virgin Mary in the Narbonne Gate - ThumbnailBust of Lady Carcas in front of the Narbonne Gate - ThumbnailBarbican entrance to Comtal Castle - ThumbnailEntrance to Comtal Castle or the Count’s Castle of Carcassonne - ThumbnailTower and bridge of Comtal/Count’s Castle - ThumbnailThe bridge, towers and curtain walls of Count’s Castle - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneSaint Nazaire basilica - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneWalls along the street in front of the Aude Gate in the west side of the citadel - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneDetail of the capital of a double-arched window of the Cité of Carcassonne - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneDetail of a capital in the inner wall of the citadel of Carcassonne - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneWooden gallery on the wall of the Count’s Castle - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneStreets of the medieval citadel of Carcassonne - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneThe towers and drawbridge at the Narbonne Gate - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneInterior of the Saint Nazaire basilica in the citadel of Carcassonne - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneSouth façade rose window of the Saint Nazaire basilica of Carcassone - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneDetail of the capitals and archivolt on the north portal of the Saint Nazaire basilica - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneGargoyle and tower of the north transept of the Saint Nazaire basilica - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneStatue of Joan of Arc in the Saint Nazaire basilica - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneQuadripartite vault next to the rose window on the basilica’s north façade - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneThe walls of the Cité of Carcassonne - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneDetail of a Gallo-Roman tower in the north section of the inner wall - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneSaint-Paul tower of the Count’s Castle - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneGallo-Roman tower de la Marquière next to the Rodez Gate - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneThe Rodez Gate - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneTower de la Marquière - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneInterior courtyard of the Count’s Castle - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneComtal castle bridge and towers Casernes and Major - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneInterior of a tower with arrowslits on the south part of the citadel - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneThe modern city of Carcassonne viewed from the medieval city - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneStreet in front of Aude Gate - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneCupola of Tower of Justice near the Aude Gate in the west side of the Cité of Carcassonne - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneThe Notre-Dame or Rigal tower of the outer wall of the Carcassonne fortress - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneView from the ramparts walk on the inner wall of the citadel - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneDetail of a tower from the Roman period in the inner wall of the Cité of Carcassonne - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneComplete view of a Roman tower of the inner wall of the citadel - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneNorth transept tower of the Saint-Nazaire church of Carcassonne - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneWooden frame of a cupola of a tower in the inner wall - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneDetail of a round tower and its scaly-looking cupola - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneTowers and curtain walls of the Count’s Castle - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneThe Count’s Castle and the Pinte tower - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneInterior of the Notre-Dame tower in the outer wall of the Cité de Carcassonne - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneDetail of a Gallo-Roman tower in the inner wall - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneView from the ramparts walk of the inner wall of the Cité of Carcassonne - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneCarcassonne mural on Trivalle street - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneCarcassonne mural - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneCarcassonne mural - Cour d’Amour / Court of Love - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneDetail of a tower of the citadel’s wall - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneThe towers of Narbonne Gate - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonnePanorama from the walls of the medieval city - The Medieval Citadel of CarcassonneThe Pont Vieux and the Cité of Carcassonne - The Medieval Citadel of Carcassonne
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