The Castillet or Castellet (in Catalan) is a monument of the town of Perpignan which was in turn carries city and prison of State. Today it shelters the Catalan Musée of Arts and Popular Traditions ( Put It Pairal ). It was also destined for certain times Baluard or Bastilla .
The Castillet consists of two parts which are the Grand Castillet and the Petit Castillet .
He is regarded as an archaeological document of the greattest importance for the history of the city, and constitutes a type of military architecture single in his kind. He is of more decorative with his crowning of crenellations, consoles and turrets of Moorish style.
the Grand Castillet was built about 1368 by the project superintendent Guillaume Gitard on order of Infant Don Joan d' Aragon , to replace the door known as of the Vernet which made it possible to cross the ramparts and to make communicate the city with the suburb. The new passage comprised a Pont-levis which does not exist any more. The massive construction of the building was that of an extremely defensive castle to resist any offensive coming from north.
the transitory occupation of Roussillon by Louis XI made it possible to change the destination it. The fortress became useless since any conflict with France was finished and one made a prison of State of it. The windows were furnished with iron nettings, the passage of the drawbridge was removed. However, it was necessary to ensure an exit of the city towards the Vernet and one juxtaposed the Petit Castillet with the primitive masonry in 1478. It was the Portal de Nostra Dona del Pont or Porte of Notre-Dame of the Bridge .
In 1542, Charles Quint made cover the Castillet in north by means of a polygonal bastion whose point and watch tower advanced towards the Basse (river located at north). The workmen used materials coming from the Vault Notre-Dame of the Bridge which was demolished (as well as the houses of the suburb) for strategic reasons. Following the destruction of this vault one placed the Castillet under the protection of Nostra Dona del Pont and the statue of the Virgin who decorated it taken seat in the vault. Thereafter, the statue was placed on the frontage in a simple niche practiced in the wall (the concave, visible niche nowadays, decorated of a Gothic framing goes back to 1864)
In 1642, Vauban made reinforce the polygonal bastion of Charles Quint and gave the Castillet in a state of defense. During this century one also built the Corps of guard . It was about a masonry rather simple (demolished in 1843), located southern part at the ground floor and glaze of tiles. It was useful as its name indicates it place of life to the Body of guard. A court skirting the wall of the Castillet gave access the door of the monument.
In 1904, one demolishes the strengthened enclosure of Perpignan but one respected the Castillet . The crutches which connected it to the ramparts disappeared and the bastion and its watch tower were dynamited.
At the XXe century, the Castillet sheltered the Municipal Files of town of Perpignan.
Nowadays, it shelters the Catalan Musée of Arts and Popular Traditions also called Put It Pairal .
The masons in XIVe and XVe centuries with Perpignan, used the rollers drawn from the river and brick, but military constructions were made exclusively out of bricks. Cement as for him was a lime amalgam and crushed bricks (the terbol ), very member and resistant.
The Large Castillet measurement 31 meters length and the Small eight meters. The height of the parapets of crenellation is of 20 meters above the ground and that of the ridge of the turret of 29,20 meters. The thickness of the walls is of 3,50 meters at the base, 2,80 meters on the second floor and 1,60 meter to the third. A staircase in spiral of a diameter of 2,77 meters serves the Grand Castillet . A second spiral staircase was practiced in the thickness of the wall between the Grand and the Petit Castillet . They allow one and the other to reach the terrace.
The prison of State
The Castillet , prison of State, collected the delinquents of common right and the soldiers held. A document drawn up by an officer of the Genious at the XVIIe century (historical Files of the fort of Vincennes) indicates the provision of the buildings as follows:
Large Castillet : in basement the “ white dungeon ”. With the first the room of the Governor stages (occupied in the Sixties by the Municipal Files). With the second the room “ stages where are the fanatics ” and the room “ where one gives the question” with the instruments of torment.
Small Castillet : In basement the “ black dungeon ”. With the first the room known as stages of the “ galériens ”. With the second the room “ stages where one locks up the soldiers ” and the vault. With the third the room “ stages where one locks up the women ”. The prisoners are led, for their walk, all in top on the paved stone terrace.
the Body of guard : to be used the Body as guard.
The enigma of the child of Castillet
In 1948, Louis Xaragai took possession of its post of municipal librarian to the Castillet . As of its arrival, it was intrigued by a framed white stone window, which had had to be formerly latticed but which was now stopped. He alerted masons to release this opening and to know which was up there the inventory of fixtures (the aforementioned window is in the wall of the Petit Castillet , on the left of the statue of the Virgin).
One had quickly made give off the stones which enclosed it but the workman withdrew himself at once, suffocated by a strong nauseous odor: “ There is a corpse in it! ” exclaimed it.
One went to see and one was in a tiny room, being three meters long, eighty two height meters centimetres broad and, closed by a door out of wooden backed up with iron blades. The skeleton of a child there was discovered: its lengthened body rested on a compost of sixty centimetres. It was to be equipped when it there was deposited, because it carried leather shoes. One collected bones, fabric scraps, the end of a shoe, bones of animals (remainders of a meal), a plate of the time Louis XVI, believes one, and a half of jug.
The enigma was posed and various assumptions were considered like most insane which advanced that it was about Louis XVII. The Dolphin would have been entrusted to police chiefs charged by the national Convention with concluding peace with the Spain, which required like prerequisite the handing-over of the child. Deceased during the negotiations, it would have been buried in secrecy with the Castillet . After study, it appeared that the battered child was locked up in his jail only at the end of the XIXe century. But its fate always poses a disconcerting enigma: Had it made some fixed price? Was this insane? Or did its family want to get rid of him by hatred or cupidity, for a heritage? We are in full mystery.
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