Caerphilly Castle

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One of the castle's tower has a steeper angle than that of the Pisa Tower in Italy
One of the castle's tower has a steeper angle than that of the Pisa Tower in Italy

Caerphilly Castle is a  medieval fortification, located in the center of the small town of Caerphilly, in South Wales, United Kingdom.

It is the largest castle in Wales (the second largest in the United Kingdom behind Windsor Castle), and perhaps one of the greatest fortresses in Europe. Built mostly between 1268 and 1271, it is one of the first examples of concentric castle. It is surrounded by artificial lakes, shallow, destined to stop the enemy advance and prevent underground attacks.
The castle, surrounded by large, artificially created bodies of water, is the first castle in Great Britain to be planned and built as a fully concentric castle with two ring walls. At the time of its construction, it was a revolutionary masterpiece of military architecture and served as a model for the castles of King Edward I in North Wales.
The castle is located in the transition area between the lowlands on the coast of Southeast Wales and the highlands of Central Wales. It was built north of Caerphilly Mountain in a valley surrounded by hills and mountains, two creeks. The two eastward flowing streams form the Porset Brook, a tributary of the Rhymney River. The castle was strategically located on the Cardiff road into the mountainous area of Senghynnedd, eastward was easily accessible via a Newport pass, while another mountain pass led to the River Taff valley in the west. Today, the castle is located in the middle of the industrial city of Caerphilly.
The castle was not built on older predecessors, but designed by an unknown master builder as a completely new facility. Although the castle was built in several phases, the building plan was kept the same as the building. When choosing the site, Gilbert de Clare was probably influenced by his experiences during the siege of Kenilworth Castle in 1266, whose vast expanses of water made the use of siege engines more difficult. De Clare had the two streams that flow through the plain north of Caerphilly Mountain, dammed to two lakes.

The  British TV show, Doctor Who, has chosen Caerphilly Castle as its location for several episodes, including The Christmas Prophecy in 2009.

Access : Coordinates: 51.5761, -3.2203 / Address : Caerphilly Castle ,Castle St, Caerphilly CF83 1JD / Caerphilly Castle is on Cadw’s list and easily accessible from Caerphilly town center. By Rail : 1km/0.6mls Caerphilly, on the Cardiff-Bargoed Rhymney route.

Highlights : – Site layout :

  • The famous leaning tower : One of the castle’s tower has a steeper angle than that of the Pisa Tower in Italy. This is because, during the English Civil War, Oliver Cromwell’s troops tried to blow it up, only causing damage to the foundations of the Northeast tower, which caused its tilt.
    Caerphilly Castle is also the name of a castle class locomotive.Young Dracula was shot in various settings across Wales, including Glantaf High School, Caerphilly Castle, Tretower Court and parts of Llantrisant.
  • main castle : The paths over the dams lead to the main access to the east side of the core castle. The rectangular core castle is surrounded by a double ring wall. The double walled ring is derived from the castles in Dover and the French Chateau Gaillard, as well as Byzantine fortresses and the Crusader armies in Palestine. Due to the concentric layout, the defenders were able to flexibly switch between the individual parts of the castle. The towers and gatehouses, which were provided with numerous embrasures and castholes, could be defended separately.
  • The outer wall ring consists of a low, crenellated wall with large semicircular bastions at the corners and with towers flanked by towers on the east and on the west side. Between the outer and inner side there are some buildings on the south side. In the southeast corner, the remains of a rectangular building can be seen, which served as a supply store, in addition there were storage rooms and accommodation for the garrison.  A small gate in the southern wall led directly to the southern lake. At a short distance behind the outer wall rises the much stronger and higher inner wall, which is provided with mighty round corner towers and two large gatehouses to the east and west. Another tower, the semicircular two-story kitchen tower, is located in the middle of the south wall. The main gatehouse in the east is the tallest structure of the castle, it also served as keep. It consists of two mighty semicircular towers restored in the 19th century under the 4th Marquis of Bute. The austere building is spars e and has only a few and small windows. On the second floor was probably the apartment of the constable. Inside the building there is now an exhibition about the history and architecture of the castle.
  • The restored living hall : The entrance to the west is also via a protected by two semicircular towers first gatehouse, behind it rises the protected by two other semicircular towers, three-story inner gatehouse, which is smaller than the eastern counterpart. Inside the gatehouse there were residential quarters next to the guard rooms. The four corner towers of the inner wall ring are in different good condition. The Northwest Tower contains an exhibition on the history of Welsh castles. By the northeastern tower, however, little is preserved. The ruin-preserved, 15 m high southeastern tower is inclined 10 degrees outwards. Whether this inclination was caused by undermining or by demolition during the civil war in the 17th century or by the damp underground is not exactly clarified.
    On the south side of the courtyard was the Palas and the chambers of the lords. The ground floor hall was rebuilt after 1322 under de Despenser and superbly furnished. At the end of the 19th century, it was restored under the 3rd Marquess of Bute. East of the hall was a pantry and the sideboard, perhaps the chapel above. West of the hall were the livable rooms of the lords.

Opening times : 1 March – 30 June : 9.30am – 5pm daily , 1 July – 31 August : 9.30am – 6pm daily , 1 September – 31 October : 9.30am – 5pm daily , 1 November – 29 February : 10am – 4pm Monday – Saturday ,11am – 4pm Sunday

Prices & Tickets : Adult : £8.90 , Family : £25.70 , Disabled and companion : Free , Juniors (Aged 5-17) / NUS / Armed Forces and Veterans : £5.30 , Seniors (Aged 65+) : £7.10

Facilities & services : Baby changing , Charging car park , Civil ceremony licence , Digital trail , Disabled access , Dogs welcome , Exhibition , Gift shop , Guidebook , No drones , No smoking , Portable hearing , Toilets , Video presentation , School visits , Venue hire , Wi-Fi

Activities :A Medieval Christmas , Sat 07 Dec 2019 sightseeing / photo opportunities / Castle tours / Wedding at Caerphilly Castle /  Caerphilly Castle Great Hall 3D Tour / Caerphilly Castle Ice Rink

Go next : Caerphilly , a town in Glamorgan, South Wales. / Pontypridd is a town in Glamorgan / The City of Newport in the historic county of Monmouthshire, South Wales / Cardiff , the capital of Wales.

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