A little history of Salses fortress

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The fort - ©Carles de Malavella / CC-BY-SA The fort - ©Carles de Malavella / CC-BY-SA
Salses fortress Fortification

Here we are near Spain! Salses was a very strategical place on the frontier between Aragon and France, on the road that linked Narbonne to Barcelona!

We found here a first stronghold, since the 11th century: the area was a bone of contention between the Spanish and the French, before king Charles VII gave back the Roussillon to the Aragon kingdom in 1493. So king Ferdinand the Catholic raised a bigger stronghold in 1497...

A very impressive fortress! Its defensive system included walls 10 metres thick, 4 huge towers, a keep 20 metres high, with 7 floors, with all mod cons. A kind of building housed stables, kitchens, even the jail. In short, 1 600 men and 200 horses could live here, inside the castle!

Many times besieged by the Spanish, Salses finally fell to the French in 1642, before the treaty of Pyrenees was signed in 1659, to annex the Roussillon to France. So, Salses was abandoned and even Cardinal Richelieu wanted to demolish it...

But wait! Here came Vauban, the famous architect, sent here by king Louis XIV in order to transform the old fortress. No more destruction! He restored it in 1694 and Salses was listed as a Historical monument in 1886: it was then owned by the French Nation who opened it to the public...


And also!