Daily Dose: Castles

Add to TwitterThis is another one of those topics a true masonry blog just couldn’t pass over: castles! The two I’ve chosen for today’s entry, the Château de Chillon and the Swallow’s Nest, are well-visited landmarks of their respective countries with fascinating histories (though very different in age!). Their medieval and Neo-Gothic styles put stone masonry to the test with extravagant turrets, vaulted ceilings and elegant façades.

Château de Chillon

Proudly altering the shoreline of Lake Geneva, the Château de Chillon has been around for quite some time; the earliest written document to reference it is dated to 1150 AD. It’s been mentioned a few times since then. Rousseau used the castle’s location near Montreux, Switzerland for a scene in “La Nouvelle Héloïse”, published in 1762. Just around 50 years later, in 1816, the famous poet Lord Byron wrote “The Prisoner of Chillon” which takes place in the castle’s dungeon.

Château de Chillon, dungeon

Excerpt from Stanza II of “The Prisoner of Chillon” by Lord Byron

There are seven pillars of Gothic mould,
In Chillon’s dungeons deep and old,
There are seven columns massy and grey,
Dim with a dull imprison’d ray.
A sunbeam which hath lost its way,
And through the crevice and the cleft
Of the thick wall is fallen and left…

The other castle featured in the Daily Dose is the Swallow’s Nest in Crimea, Ukraine. It’s much newer than the Château de Chillon, built between 1911 and 1912 by architect Leonid Sherwood. It has actually survived an earthquake and lay vacant for many years following. More damage was done to the cliff than the structure of the castle itself, and it’s since been reopened for tours and dining in the restaurant inside.

Swallow's Nest, Crimea

Not the ideal residence for sleepwalkers, but a breathtaking (quite literally for those afraid of heights!) location nonetheless. If you know of other blog-worthy castles or have visited a few yourself, leave a comment and share your experience!

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Sources:

http://www.chillon.ch/en/
http://www.english.upenn.edu/Projects/knarf/Byron/chillon.html

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2 Responses

  1. […] (image from mtidry) […]

    • Beautiful and historic. Would love to visit these castles! Think how much more comfortable these masonry masterpieces would have been with some effective moisture management.

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