January 26, 2013

Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in England and is often referred to as 'the loveliest castle in the World'. The castle is situated on the River Len about 5 miles (8 km) southeast of the town of Maidstone, Kent, England. The name 'Leeds' originates from the name of a chief minister of King Ethelbert IV ( 856-860) called Ledian (it is not associated with the city of Leeds!).

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In 1139 the castle was besieged and taken by Stephen of Blois who, after the death of Henry I, ascended the throne in place of Henry’s daughter Matilda. The de Crèvecoeur family soon regained control of Leeds, and building work continued spasmodically through the 12th and into the 13th centuries. Some remnants of this can be traced in details such as the medieval two-light window at the end of the Banqueting Hall, and the simple arch within the outer arch of the gatehouse which marks the site of the original gates.

January 1, 2013

Alcázar of Segovia

The Alcázar of Segovia (literally, Segovia Castle) is a palace and a fortress of Spanish kings in the in the historic district of Segovia city, Spain. The castle is situated on a cliff, located at the confluence of the rivers Eresma and Klamores, near the Guadarrama mountains (part of the Cordillera Central). The Alcázar is one of the most distinctive castle-palaces in Spain by virtue of its shape – like the bow of a ship. It was originally built as a fortress but has served as a royal palace, a state prison, a Royal Artillery College and a military academy since then. The castle is one of the inspirations for Walt Disney's Cinderella Castle.
This is a file from the wallpaperswiki.com
The Alcázar of Segovia, like many fortifications in Spain, started off as an Arab fort, which itself was built on a Roman fort but little of that structure remains. The oldest testimony we have of the Alcázar is a document dating from the early days of the 12th century (1122), a short time after the town had been recaptured by Alfonso VI of León and Castile, which refers to the fortress as a hill-fort on the Eresma. A short time later, in a letter of 1155, it was already being referred to as "Alcázar". However, it is more than probable that the fortress had existed in earlier times, possibly since the Roman occupation, because granite blocks similar to those of the Aqueduct have been found in the course of recent excavations.