The Info List - Citadel

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A citadel is the core fortified area of a town or city. It may be a fortress, castle, or fortified center. The term is a diminutive of "city" and thus means "little city", so called because it is a smaller part of the city of which it is the defensive core. Ancient Sparta
Ancient Sparta
had a citadel as did many other Greek cities and towns. In a fortification with bastions, the citadel is the strongest part of the system, sometimes well inside the outer walls and bastions, but often forming part of the outer wall for the sake of economy. It is positioned to be the last line of defense, should the enemy breach the other components of the fortification system. A citadel is also a term of the third part of a medieval castle, with higher walls than the rest. It was to be the last line of defense before the keep itself.


1 History

1.1 3300–1300 BCE 1.2 800 BCE–600

1.2.1 167–160 BCE

1.3 500–1600 1.4 1600–present 1.5 Modern usage

2 Naval term 3 List of citadels 4 See also 5 References 6 External links

History[edit] 3300–1300 BCE[edit] Some of the oldest known structures which have served as citadels were built by the Indus Valley Civilisation, where the citadel represented a centralised authority. The main citadel in Indus Valley was almost 12 meters tall.[1] The purpose of these structures, however, remains debated. Though the structures found in the ruins of Mohenjo-daro
were walled, it is far from clear that these structures were defensive against enemy attacks. Rather, they may have been built to divert flood waters. 800 BCE–600[edit]

Reconstruction of the redoubt of Bibracte, a part of the Gaulish oppidum. The Celts
utilized these fortified cities in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC.

In Ancient Greece, the Acropolis
(literally: "high city"), placed on a commanding eminence, was important in the life of the people, serving as a refuge and stronghold in peril and containing military and food supplies, the shrine of the god and a royal palace. The most well-known is the Acropolis
of Athens, but nearly every Greek city-state had one – the Acrocorinth
famed as a particularly strong fortress. In a much later period, when Greece
was ruled by the Latin Empire, the same strong points were used by the new feudal rulers for much the same purpose. In the first millennium BCE, the Castro culture
Castro culture
emerged in Northernwestern Portugal and Spain in the region extending from the Douro
river up to the Minho, but soon expanding north along the coast, and east following the river valleys. It was an autochthonous evolution of Atlantic Bronze Age
Atlantic Bronze Age
communities. In 2008, the origins of the Celts
were attributed to this period by John T. Koch[2] and supported by Barry Cunliffe.[3] The Ave River
Ave River
Valley in Portugal was the core region of this culture,[4] with a large number of small settlements (the castros), but also settlements known as citadels or oppida by the Roman conquerors. These had several rings of walls and the Roman conquest of the citadels of Abobriga, Lambriaca and Cinania around 138 B.C. was possible only by prolonged siege.[5] Ruins of notable citadels still exist, and are known by archaeologists as Citânia de Briteiros, Citânia de Sanfins, Cividade de Terroso
Cividade de Terroso
and Cividade de Bagunte.[4] 167–160 BCE[edit] Rebels who took power in the city but with the citadel still held by the former rulers could by no means regard their tenure of power as secure. One such incident played an important part in the history of the Maccabean Revolt
Maccabean Revolt
against the Seleucid Empire. The Hellenistic garrison of Jerusalem
and local supporters of the Seleucids held out for many years in the Acra citadel, making Maccabean rule in the rest of Jerusalem
precarious. When finally gaining possession of the place, the Maccabeans pointedly destroyed and razed the Acra, though they constructed another citadel for their own use in a different part of Jerusalem. 500–1600[edit]

Although much of Nice
was ransacked during the 1543 siege of the city, Franco-Ottoman forces besieging Nice
were unable to capture its Citadel. Citadels have often been used as a last defence for a besieged army.

At various periods, and particularly during the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
and the Renaissance, the citadel – having its own fortifications, independent of the city walls – was the last defence of a besieged army, often held after the town had been conquered. Locals and defending armies have often held out citadels long after the city had fallen. For example, in the 1543 Siege
of Nice
the Ottoman forces led by Barbarossa conquered and pillaged the town itself and took many captives – but the citadel itself held out. In the Philippines
The Ivatan people of the northern islands of Batanes
often built fortifications to protect themselves during times of war. They built their so-called idjangs on hills and elevated areas.These fortifications were likened to European castles because of their purpose. Usually, the only entrance to the castles would be via a rope ladder that would only be lowered for the villagers and could be kept away when invaders arrived.[6] 1600–present[edit] In time of war the citadel in many cases afforded retreat to the people living in the areas around the town. However, Citadels were often used also to protect a garrison or political power from the inhabitants of the town where it was located, being designed to ensure loyalty from the town that they defended.

Americans assault the citadel during the Battle of Huế, 1968. The battle showcased the effectiveness of citadels in modern warfare.

For example, during the Dutch Wars
Dutch Wars
of 1664-67, King Charles II of England constructed a Royal Citadel
at Plymouth, an important channel port which needed to be defended from a possible naval attack. However, due to Plymouth's support for the Parliamentarians in the then-recent English Civil War, the Plymouth Citadel
was so designed that its guns could fire on the town as well as on the sea approaches. Barcelona
had a great citadel built in 1714 to intimidate the Catalans against repeating their mid-17th- and early-18th-century rebellions against the Spanish central government.[citation needed] In the 19th century, when the political climate had liberalized enough to permit it, the people of Barcelona
had the citadel torn down, and replaced it with the city's main central park, the Parc de la Ciutadella.[citation needed] A similar example is the Citadella
in Budapest, Hungary. The attack on the Bastille
in the French Revolution
French Revolution
– though afterwards remembered mainly for the release of the handful of prisoners incarcerated there – was to considerable degree motivated by the structure being a Royal citadel in the midst of revolutionary Paris. Similarly, after Garibaldi's overthrow of Bourbon rule in Palermo, during the 1860 Unification of Italy, Palermo's Castellamare Citadel – symbol of the hated and oppressive former rule – was ceremoniously demolished. Following Belgium
declaring independence in 1830, a Dutch garrison under General David Hendrik Chassé
David Hendrik Chassé
held out in Antwerp Citadel between 1830 and 1832, while the city itself had already become part of the independent Belgium. The Siege
of the Alcázar
in the Spanish Civil War, in which the Nationalists held out against a much larger Republican force for two months until relieved, shows that in some cases a citadel can be effective even in modern warfare; a similar case is the Battle of Huế during the Vietnam war, where a North Vietnamese Army
North Vietnamese Army
division held the citadel of Huế for 26 days against roughly their own numbers of much better-equipped US and South Vietnamese troops. Modern usage[edit]

The Royal 22nd Regiment's home garrison is the Citadelle of Quebec
Citadelle of Quebec
in Canada. The citadel is the largest still in military operation in North America.

The Citadelle of Québec
Citadelle of Québec
(construction started 1673, completed 1820) still survives as the largest citadel still in official military operation in North America. It is home to the Royal 22nd Regiment
Royal 22nd Regiment
of Canada;[7] and forms part of the fortified walls of Vieux-Québec dating back to 1608.[8] The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina was established in 1842 in Charleston, South Carolina
Charleston, South Carolina
and still operates as a public college today. Since the mid 20th century, citadels commonly enclose military command and control centres, rather than cities or strategic points of defense on the boundaries of a country. These modern citadels are built to protect the command center from heavy attacks, such as aerial or nuclear bombardment. The military citadels under London in the UK, including the massive underground complex Pindar beneath the Ministry of Defense, are examples, as is the Cheyenne Mountain nuclear bunker in the US. Naval term[edit] On armored warships, the heavily armored section of the ship that protects the ammunition and machinery spaces is called the armored citadel. A modern naval interpretation refers to the heaviest protected part of the hull as "The Vitals", and the citadel refers to the semi armoured freeboard above the vitals. Generally Anglo-American and German language follow this while Russian sources/language refer to "The Vitals" as "zitadel". Likewise Russian literature often refers to 'the turret' of a tank as 'the tower'. The safe room on a ship is also called a citadel. List of citadels[edit] See also: List of forts

Arca, Jerusalem
(ruins) Antwerp Citadel, Belgium
(demolished) Ark of Bukhara, Uzbekistan Bab Ksiba, Morocco Bam Citadel, Iran Beijing city fortifications, China (partially demolished) Brest Fortress, Belarus Cadmea, Greece
(ruins) Cairo Citadel, Egypt Castillo San Felipe del Morro, United States Castle
of Kars, Turkey Citadel
Hill, Canada Citadel
of Erbil, Iraq
(partially ruined) Citadel
of Liège, Belgium
(partially demolished) Citadel
Počitelj, Bosnia and Herzegovina Citadel
Prins Frederik, Indonesia
(demolished) Citadel
of Salah Ed-Din, Syria
(partially ruined) Citadella, Hungary The Citadella, Malta Citadelle Laferrière, Haiti Citadelle of Quebec, Canada City Wall of Nanjing, China City Wall of Suzhou, China (partially demolished) Dublin Castle, Ireland Edinburgh Castle, United Kingdom Fort Santiago, Philippines Fortifications of Xi'an, China Fortress
of Louisbourg, Canada Fortress
of Ulm, Germany
(partially demolished) Gradačac Castle, Bosnia and Herzegovina Hamina Fortress, Finland Hwaseong Fortress, South Korea Kaunas Fortress, Lithuania Lahore Fort, Pakistan Mainz Citadel, Germany Moscow Kremlin, Russia Commune of Neuf-Brisach, France Comune of Palmanova, Italy Petersberg Citadel, Germany Prague Castle, Czech Republic The Royal Citadel, United Kingdom Samuel's Fortress, Republic of Macedonia Spandau Citadel, Germany Stone City, China Suomenlinna, Finland Tower of David, Jerusalem Tower of London, United Kingdom Uzhhorod Castle, Ukraine Verne Citadel, United Kingdom Walls of Constantinople, Turkey
(partially ruined) Walls of Dubrovnik, Croatia Walls of Genoa, Italy Walls of Nicosia, Cyprus Walls of Tallinn, Estonia

See also[edit]

Acropolis Alcázar Alcazaba
a term for Moorish citadels in Spain Arx (Roman) Fujian Tulou Kasbah
a synonym Presidio Rocca (architecture)


^ Thapar, B. K. (1975). "Kalibangan: A Harappan Metropolis Beyond the Indus Valley". Expedition. 17 (2): 19–32.  ^ Koch, John (2009). Tartessian: Celtic from the Southwest at the Dawn of History in Acta Palaeohispanica X Palaeohispanica 9 (2009) (PDF). Palaeohispanica. pp. 339–351. ISSN 1578-5386. Archived (PDF) from the original on 23 June 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-17.  ^ Cunliffe, Barry (2008). A Race Apart: Insularity and Connectivity in Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 75, 2009, pp. 55–64. The Prehistoric Society. p. 61.  ^ a b Armando Coelho Ferreira da Silva A Cultura Castreja no Noroeste de Portugal Museu Arqueológico da Citânia de Sanfins, 1986 ^ Don José de Santiago y Gómez (1896). Historia de Vigo y Su comarca. Imprenta y Lotografía Del Asilo De Huérfanos Del Sagrado Corázon de Jesús.  ^ "15 Most Intense Archaeological Discoveries in Philippine History". Filipknow.  ^ "Musée Royal 22e Régiment - La Citadelle". Retrieved 28 February 2014.  ^ "Canada's Historic Places - HistoricPlaces.ca". Retrieved 28 February 2014. 

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Citadels.

External links[edit]

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Ancient history

Abatis Agger Broch Burgus Castellum Castra Castros Circular rampart City gate Crannog Ditch Defensive wall Dun Faussebraye Gatehouse Gord Hillfort Limes Oppidum Palisade Pincer gate Promontory fort Rampart Ringfort
(Rath) Refuge castle Schwedenschanze Stockade Sudis Trou de loup Vallum Wagon fort
Wagon fort
(Laager) Vitrified fort

Medieval history

Advanced work Albarrana tower Alcazaba Alcázar Arrowslit Barbican Bartizan Bastion Battery tower Battlement Bent entrance Bergfried Bretèche Bridge castle Bridge tower Butter-churn tower Caltrop Castle Chamber gate Chartaque Chashi Chemin de ronde Chemise Cheval de frise Citadel Coercion castle Concentric castle Corner tower Counter-castle Curtain Drawbridge Enceinte Embrasure Flanking tower Fortified buildings (church, house) Ganerbenburg Gate tower Gabion Glacis Guard tower Gulyay-gorod Gusuku Half tower Hoarding Inner bailey Keep Kremlin (Detinets) Landesburg L-plan castle Machicolation Merlon Moat Motte-and-bailey Murder-hole Neck ditch Outer bailey Outwork Peel tower Portcullis Postern Reduit Ringwork Quadrangular castle Shell keep Shield wall Toll castle Tower castle Tower house Turret Wall tower Bailey (or ward) Watchtower Witch tower Yett

Modern history

18th century and earlier

Abwurfdach Bastion Blockhouse Breastwork Canal Caponier Casemate Cavalier Counterguard Counterscarp Couvreface Coupure Covertway Crownwork Device fort Entrenchment Flèche Gorge Hornwork Lunette Orillon Ostrog Place-of-arms Polygonal fort Presidio
(Spanish America) Punji sticks Ravelin Redan Redoubt Retrenchment Sandbag Scarp Sconce Schanze Sea fort Station Star fort Tenaille

19th century

Barbed wire Barbette Border outpost Bunker Coastal artillery Gun turret Land mine Martello tower Outpost Trench warfare Sangar Wire obstacles

20th century

Admiralty scaffolding Air raid shelter Anti-tank trench Barbed tape Blast shelter Blast wall Border barrier Buoy Bremer wall Concertina wire Defensive fighting position British "hedgehog" road block Czech hedgehog Dragon's teeth Electric fence Fallout shelter Fire support base Flak tower Hardened aircraft shelter Hesco bastion Main Line of Resistance Revetment Sentry gun Spider hole Submarine pen Tunnel warfare Underground hangar

By topography

Cave castle Hill castle Hill fort Hillside castle Hilltop castle Island castle Lowland castle Marsh castle Moated castle Promontory fort Ridge castle Rocca Rock castle Spur castle Water castle

By role

Coercion castle Counter-castle Ganerbenburg Hunting lodge Imperial castle Kaiserpfalz Landesburg Lustschloss Ordensburg Refuge castle Toll castle Urban castle

By design

Bridge castle Circular rampart Concentric castle L-plan castle Motte-and-bailey castle Quadrangular castle Ringfort Ringwork Tower castle

See also: Category

Authority control

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