Each Battle Castle episode stands alone.
In this special online segment we look at castle design to compare and contrast the features shared by the castles. This time we examine the final Castle Feature: Battlements.
Castles are formidable fortifications, but they are nothing without the garrison who lives or dies by their walls. Five of the Battle Castle Six harbour poignant evidence of this medieval relationship between wall and man - enbodied in structures called battlements.
Malaga: Malaga’s Alcazaba and connecting coracha show no evidence of battlements, and the city walls that existed when it was besieged by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1487 are virtually non-existent.But up at the Castillo de Gibralfaro, the merlons are arguably the most distinct part of the castle.
Crac des Chevaliers: Crac des Chevaliers does not have conventional battlements. Instead, the castle’s outer walls exhibit a alternation of arrow slits and machicolations at staggered heights. The inner wall boasts narrow arrow slits in several sections – sleek, calculated gaps in the castle’s incredible ashlar masonry.
Conwy Castle: Edward Longshank’s fortifications in Wales are widely known to have elaborate battlements, as evident on Conwy Castle’s towers. Here, each merlon was pierced with an arrow slit and topped with three distinct points that look like jagged stone teeth. Though their function is unclear, they certainly intimidate.
Dover Castle: Dover’s battlements are most evident atop its mighty keep. Here, darker stone merlons have slated, lighter tops. In the Middle Ages, archers could have used these as protection while shooting down at assailants who dared brave the keep’s forebuilding, which was at that time open to the sky for this exact reason.
Malbork Castle: The Teutonic Knights who constructed this red-brick wonder made sure their archers would be thoroughly protected. Unlike the other five Battle Castles, the battlements at Malbork Castle are topped with distinct clay-tile roofs. Resistant to decay and immune to fire, they have by-in-large stood the test of time.
To see these battlements in more detail, check out our Flickr Gallery