Guédelon Castle (French: Château de Guédelon [ʃɑto d(ə) ɡedlɔ̃]) is a castle currently under construction near Treigny, France. The castle is the focus of an experimental archaeology project aimed at recreating a 13th-century castle and its environment using period techniques, dress, and materials.

Guédelon Castle
Château de Guédelon
Near Treigny, Yonne, Burgundy, France
Guédelon Castle in April 2017
Plan of Guédelon Castle
Guédelon Castle is located in France
Guédelon Castle
Guédelon Castle
Guédelon Castle
Coordinates47°35′1″N 3°9′20″E / 47.58361°N 3.15556°E / 47.58361; 3.15556
Site information
OwnerMichel Guyot [fr]
Site history

In order to fully investigate the technology required in the past, the project is using only period construction techniques, tools, and costumes. Materials, including wood and stone, are all obtained locally. Jacques Moulin [fr], chief architect for the project, designed the castle according to the architectural model developed during the 12th and 13th centuries by Philip II of France.

Construction started in 1997 under Michel Guyot [fr], owner of Château de Saint-Fargeau, a castle in Saint-Fargeau 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) away. The site was chosen according to the availability of construction materials: an abandoned stone quarry, in a large forest, with a nearby pond.[1] The site is in a rural woodland area and the nearest town is Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) to the northeast.

History edit

In 1979, French entrepreneur Michel Guyot purchased the ruins of the Château de Saint-Fargeau and began restoring it with profits raised on-site.[2] In late 1995, a study by Guyot's staff revealed the medieval foundations beneath the current, brick ruins, complete with a hypothesized plan of the original castle. After some consideration, Guyot rebuilt the existing castle, but began assembling funds and experts – and opening negotiations with the French government – to build a new castle.[3] Over five months in 1997, Guyot raised €400,000 from the European Union, local and the central French governments, and commercial entities.[2]

A former sandstone quarry was chosen as the site of Guédelon Castle because of its relative elevation and abundance of local natural resources, which would have been expensive to transport in the Middle Ages.[4][5] The castle location is in a woodland, two hours south of Paris, near Treigny. The ceremonial first stone was laid on 20 June 1997,[6] and permission for the construction was received from the commune of Treigny on 25 July 1997.[7]

After ground-breaking mid-1997 through early 1998, the site was cleared and the first workshops erected.[7][8] By 1998 the castle perimeter had been built up to a metre (3 ¼ feet) in height, following which Guédelon was opened to the public.[7] By June 2010, the great tower stood at 15 metres (49 ft).[9]

By 2014, the castle was attracting about 300,000 visitors annually,[10] and had annual revenue of about three million euros.[11] In 2022, the castle was attracting about 275,000 visitors. [12]

The techniques redeveloped for Guédelon Castle are being used in the reconstruction of Notre-Dame cathedral after its catastrophic 2019 fire.[5][13]

Media edit

Guédelon Castle appeared in the 2004 documentary Europe in the Middle Ages.[14] In November 2014 the castle was featured in the series, Secrets of the Castle, in which the project was described as "the world's biggest archaeological experiment".[15][16]

Construction images edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Dowson, Thomas (2020). "Experience Gudelon Castle". Retrieved 2020-11-29.
  2. ^ a b Henley, Jon (30 July 1999). "King of a modern medieval castle". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 22 October 2017. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  3. ^ "The story begins". Guédelon Castle. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  4. ^ Minard & Folcher 2003, p. 57.
  5. ^ a b Willsher, Kim (6 June 2019). "A medieval castle in France could be Notre Dame's salvation". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  6. ^ Durand 2005, p. 6.
  7. ^ a b c "Order of construction". Guédelon Castle. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Guédelon's building plans". Guédelon Castle. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  9. ^ Schofield, Huge (30 June 2010). "France's new medieval castle". BBC News. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  10. ^ Grant, Olly (18 November 2014). "A trip back in time at Guédelon Castle". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 5 December 2019. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  11. ^ Godeau, Élise (23 September 2013). "Guédelon, créneau pédago". Libération (in French). Archived from the original on 16 June 2019. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  12. ^ "snapshot of a Messenger exchange". Facebook. Archived from the original on 2023-04-13.
  13. ^ Willsher, Kim (20 August 2022). "'They said it was impossible': how medieval carpenters are rebuilding Notre Dame". The Observer.
  14. ^ Christian Twente (director) (2004). Europe in the Middle Ages. produced by Gruppe 5 Filmproduktion GmbH. Retrieved 15 February 2021 – via Amazon Prime.
  15. ^ Ruth Goodman, Peter Ginn, and Tom Pinfold (presenters) (November 2014). "The hidden architectural genius of the Medieval castle". Secrets of the Castle. Season 1. Episode 5. BBC Two. Retrieved 2021-12-11 – via YouTube.
  16. ^ Wollaston, Sam (19 November 2014). "Secrets of the Castle review – good, old-fashioned medieval fun". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 October 2018.

Sources edit

  • Minard, Philippe; Folcher, François (2003). Guédelon: des hommes fous, un château fort. Aubanel. ISBN 2700603133.
  • Gleyze, Emmanuel (2019). L'Aventure Guédelon: l'édification d'un château médiéval au XXIe siècle. Presses Universitaires de la Méditerranée. ISBN 978-2-36781-287-8.

Further reading edit

  • Bitterli-Waldvogel, Thomas (2006). "Guédelon: Bau einer Burg im 21. Jahrhundert". Burgen und Schlösser. Zeitschrift für Burgenforschung und Denkmalpflege (Heft 4 ed.). Braubach, DE: Europäisches Burgeninstitut.
  • Guedelon. (360°-panoramatour). August 2011.
  • interviewee Maryline Martin. "Chateau de Guédelon" (interview article). — Interview with Guédelon's co-founder and CEO, Maryline Martin

External links edit