Citadel

Citadel

Overview




A citadel is a fortress
Fortification
Fortifications are military constructions and buildings designed for defence in warfare and military bases. Humans have constructed defensive works for many thousands of years, in a variety of increasingly complex designs...

 for protecting a town, sometimes incorporating a castle
Castle
A castle is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble...

. The term derives from the same Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 root as the word "city", civis, meaning citizen.

In a fortification with bastion
Bastion
A bastion, or a bulwark, is a structure projecting outward from the main enclosure of a fortification, situated in both corners of a straight wall , facilitating active defence against assaulting troops...

s, 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.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Citadel'
Start a new discussion about 'Citadel'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Recent Discussions
Encyclopedia




A citadel is a fortress
Fortification
Fortifications are military constructions and buildings designed for defence in warfare and military bases. Humans have constructed defensive works for many thousands of years, in a variety of increasingly complex designs...

 for protecting a town, sometimes incorporating a castle
Castle
A castle is a type of fortified structure built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars debate the scope of the word castle, but usually consider it to be the private fortified residence of a lord or noble...

. The term derives from the same Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 root as the word "city", civis, meaning citizen.

In a fortification with bastion
Bastion
A bastion, or a bulwark, is a structure projecting outward from the main enclosure of a fortification, situated in both corners of a straight wall , facilitating active defence against assaulting troops...

s, 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 defence 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 defence before the keep
Keep
A keep is a type of fortified tower built within castles during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Scholars have debated the scope of the word keep, but usually consider it to refer to large towers in castles that were fortified residences, used as a refuge of last resort should the rest of the...

 itself.

The oldest known structures which have served as citadels were built by the Indus Valley Civilization
Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley Civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that was located in the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent, consisting of what is now mainly modern-day Pakistan and northwest India...

, where the citadel represented a centralised authority. The main citadel in Indus Valley was almost 12 meters tall. The purpose of these structures, however, remains debated. Though the structures found in the ruins of Mohenjo-daro
Mohenjo-daro
Mohenjo-daro is an archeological site situated in what is now the province of Sindh, Pakistan. Built around 2600 BC, it was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, and one of the world's earliest major urban settlements, existing at the same time as the...

 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.

In ancient Greece, the Acropolis
Acropolis
Acropolis means "high city" in Greek, literally city on the extremity and is usually translated into English as Citadel . For purposes of defense, early people naturally chose elevated ground to build a new settlement, frequently a hill with precipitous sides...

 (literally: "peak of the 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
Shrine
A shrine is a holy or sacred place, which is dedicated to a specific deity, ancestor, hero, martyr, saint, daemon or similar figure of awe and respect, at which they are venerated or worshipped. Shrines often contain idols, relics, or other such objects associated with the figure being venerated....

 of the god and a royal palace
Palace
A palace is a grand residence, especially a royal residence or the home of a head of state or some other high-ranking dignitary, such as a bishop or archbishop. The word itself is derived from the Latin name Palātium, for Palatine Hill, one of the seven hills in Rome. In many parts of Europe, the...

. The most well-known is the Acropolis of Athens
Acropolis of Athens
The Acropolis of Athens or Citadel of Athens is the best known acropolis in the world. Although there are many other acropoleis in Greece, the significance of the Acropolis of Athens is such that it is commonly known as The Acropolis without qualification...

, but nearly every Greek city-state had one - the Acrocorinth
Acrocorinth
Acrocorinth , "Upper Corinth", the acropolis of ancient Corinth, is a monolithic rock overseeing the ancient city of Corinth, Greece. "It is the most impressive of the acropoleis of mainland Greece," in the estimation of George Forrest. Acrocorinth was continuously occupied from archaic times to...

 famed as a particularly strong fortress. In a much later period, when Greece was ruled by the Latin Empire
Latin Empire
The Latin Empire or Latin Empire of Constantinople is the name given by historians to the feudal Crusader state founded by the leaders of the Fourth Crusade on lands captured from the Byzantine Empire. It was established after the capture of Constantinople in 1204 and lasted until 1261...

, the same strongpoints were used by the new feudal rulers for much the same purposes.

In various countries, the citadels gained a specific name such as "Kremlin
Kremlin
A kremlin , same root as in kremen is a major fortified central complex found in historic Russian cities. This word is often used to refer to the best-known one, the Moscow Kremlin, or metonymically to the government that is based there...

" in Russia or "Alcazaba
Alcazaba
An alcazaba , alcáçova or alcassaba is a Moorish fortification in Spain and Portugal. The word derives from the Arabic word القصبة , a walled-fortification in a city....

" in the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

. In European cities, the term "Citadel" and "City Castle" are often used interchangeably. The term "tower" is also used in some cases such as the Tower of London
Tower of London
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space...

 and Jerusalem's (misnamed) Tower of David
Tower of David
The Tower of David is an ancient citadel located near the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem.Built to strengthen a strategically weak point in the Old City's defenses, the citadel that stands today was constructed during the 2nd century BC and subsequently destroyed and rebuilt by,...

.

At various periods, and particularly during the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, 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. A city where the citadel held out against an invading army was not considered conquered. For example, in the 1543 Siege of Nice
Siege of Nice
The Siege of Nice occurred in 1543 and was part of the Italian War of 1542–46 in which Francis I and Suleiman the Magnificent collaborated in a Franco-Ottoman alliance against the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, and Henry VIII of England. At that time, Nice was under the control of Charles III, Duke...

 the Ottoman forces led by Barbarossa
Barbarossa
Barbarossa, a name meaning red beard in Italian, may refer to any of these:-People:* Emperor Barbarossa or Frederick I , Holy Roman Emperor...

 conquered and pillaged the town itself and took many captives - but the city castle held out, due to which the townspeople were accounted the victors (and took considerable pride in it).

Similarly, 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 against the Seleucid Empire
Seleucid Empire
The Seleucid Empire was a Greek-Macedonian state that was created out of the eastern conquests of Alexander the Great. At the height of its power, it included central Anatolia, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Persia, today's Turkmenistan, Pamir and parts of Pakistan.The Seleucid Empire was a major centre...

. 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.

As late as the 19th Century, a similar situation developed at Antwerp, where a Dutch garrison under General David Hendrik Chassé
David Hendrik Chassé
David Hendrik, Baron Chassé was a Dutch soldier who fought both for and against Napoleon. He commanded the Third Netherlands Division that intervened at a crucial moment in the Battle of Waterloo...

 held out in the city's citadel between 1830 and 1832, while the city itself had already become part of the independent Belgium.

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 which they defended.

For example Barcelona
Barcelona
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,621,537 within its administrative limits on a land area of...

 had a great citadel built in 1714 to intimidate the Catalans
Catalan people
The Catalans or Catalonians are the people from, or with origins in, Catalonia that form a historical nationality in Spain. The inhabitants of the adjacent portion of southern France are sometimes included in this definition...

 against repeating their mid 17th and early 18th century rebellions against the Spanish central government. In the 19th century, as soon as the political climate had liberalised 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
Parc de la Ciutadella
The Parc de la Ciutadella is a park in Ciutat Vella, Barcelona, Spain. After its establishment during the mid 19 century, it was for decades the only green area in the city, and hitherto of the most popular...

. A similar example is the Citadella
Citadella
Citadella is the Hungarian word for Citadel, a kind of fortress. The word Citadella is exclusively used by other languages to address the Citadel located upon the top of the strategic Gellért Hill in Budapest, Hungary.-History:...

 in Budapest
Budapest
Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

, Hungary.

The attack on the Bastille
Bastille
The Bastille was a fortress in Paris, known formally as the Bastille Saint-Antoine. It played an important role in the internal conflicts of France and for most of its history was used as a state prison by the kings of France. The Bastille was built in response to the English threat to the city of...

 in the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 - 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
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

 rule in Palermo
Palermo
Palermo is a city in Southern Italy, the capital of both the autonomous region of Sicily and the Province of Palermo. The city is noted for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence; it is over 2,700 years old...

, during the 1860 Unification of Italy, Palermo's Castellamare Citadel - symbol of the hated and oppressive former rule - was ceremoniously demolished.

The Siege of the Alcázar
Siege of the Alcázar
The Siege of the Alcázar was a highly symbolic Nationalist victory in Toledo in the opening stages of the Spanish Civil War. The Alcázar of Toledo was held by a variety of military forces in favor of the Nationalist uprising. Militias of the parties in the Popular Front began their siege on July 21...

 in the Spanish Civil War
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

, 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, where an NVA division held the citadel of Huế for 26 days against roughly their own numbers of much better-equipped US and South Vietnamese troops.

The Citadelle of Quebec
Citadelle of Quebec
The Citadelle — the French name is used both in English and French — is a military installation and official residence located atop Cap Diamant, adjoining the Plains of Abraham in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada...

  still survives as the largest citadel still in official military operation in North America after more than two hundred years of existence.

See also

  • Bijela Tabija
    Bijela Tabija
    Bijela Tabija is an old fort overlooking the historic core of Sarajevo. It is a national monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina.Bijela Tabija is a protruding part of the wall of what was historically known as the old Vratnik City, and dominates the Eastern, the natural entrance to Sarajevo. It is...

     (English: White Bastion) is a citadel overlooking the historic core of Sarajevo - National monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Citadel Počitelj
    Citadel Počitelj
    Citadel Počitelj is a castle in Bosnia and Herzegovina....

     overlooking the historic village Počitelj and with it constitute architectural whole - National monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Gradačac Castle
    Gradačac Castle
    Gradačac Castle is a castle located in Gradačac in Bosnia and Herzegovina.Gradačac Castle has a fort with 18-meter high walls built between 1765 and 1821, and a 22-meter high watchtower, built in 1824 by Husein-kapetan Gradaščević on foundations made originally by the Romans.It is finished in the...

     is a citadel, also a palace of Husein "Dragon Of Bosnia" Gradaščević
    Husein Gradašcevic
    Husein-kapetan Gradaščević was a Bosnian Muslim general who fought for Bosnian autonomy in the Ottoman Empire. He is often referred to as "Zmaj od Bosne", meaning "Dragon of Bosnia"...

     who was renowned 19th century military Bosnian Captain, overlooking the historic core of Gradačac - National monument of Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bab Ksiba
    Bab Ksiba
    Bab Ksiba is one of the nineteen gates of Marrakech, Morocco. It was built in the 12th century in the time of the Almohad dynasty.The name Ksiba, , in Berber refers to the Kasbah district of the Medina, where this gateway is located...

     Southern gateway to the Kasbah, Marrakesh, first Citadel to the Sultans of Morocco
  • Alcazaba
    Alcazaba
    An alcazaba , alcáçova or alcassaba is a Moorish fortification in Spain and Portugal. The word derives from the Arabic word القصبة , a walled-fortification in a city....

     a term for Moorish citadels in Spain
  • Casbah
    Casbah
    The Casbah ) is specifically the citadel of Algiers in Algeria and the traditional quarter clustered around it. More generally, a kasbah is the walled citadel of many North African cities and towns...

    /Kasbah
    Kasbah
    A kasbah or qassabah is a type of medina, Islamic city, or fortress .It was a place for the local leader to live and a defense when a city was under attack. A kasbah has high walls, usually without windows. Sometimes, they were built on hilltops so that they could be more easily defended...

     a synonym
  • El Morro
    El Morro
    El Morro is a Spanish term meaning "The Promontory", which in English may be used in reference to the resemblance of various promontories.-Individuals:* El Morro , considered the best chess player in Portugal of his time.-Places:...

  • Arx (Roman)
    Arx (Roman)
    Arx is the Latin word for citadel. In the ancient city of Rome, the Arx, not always capitalized, was located on the northern spur of the Capitoline Hill, and is sometimes specified as the Arx Capitolina. Sentries were posted there to watch for a signal to be displayed on the Janiculum if an enemy...

  • Citadel of Arbil
    Citadel of Arbil
    The Citadel of Arbil is a tell or occupied mound, and the historical city centre of Arbil in Iraq. It has been claimed that the site is the oldest continuously inhabited town in the world....

  • Citadelle Laferrière
    Citadelle Laferrière
    The Citadelle Laferrière or, Citadelle Henry Christophe, or simply the Citadelle , is a large mountaintop fortress in northern Haiti, approximately south of the city of Cap-Haïtien and five miles uphill from the town of Milot...

     built by King Henry I of Haiti
    Haiti
    Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...

  • Citadelle de Forcalquier
  • Acropolis
    Acropolis
    Acropolis means "high city" in Greek, literally city on the extremity and is usually translated into English as Citadel . For purposes of defense, early people naturally chose elevated ground to build a new settlement, frequently a hill with precipitous sides...

  • Kremlin
    Kremlin
    A kremlin , same root as in kremen is a major fortified central complex found in historic Russian cities. This word is often used to refer to the best-known one, the Moscow Kremlin, or metonymically to the government that is based there...

  • Alcázar
    Alcázar
    An alcázar , alcácer or alcàsser is a type of castle in Spain and Portugal. The term derives from the Arabic word القصر meaning "fort, castle or palace"; and the Arabic word is derived from the Latin word, 'castrum', meaning an army camp or fort...

  • Acra (fortress)
  • Antwerp citadel in 1830-32
  • Citadel of Salah Ed-Din
  • Edinburgh Castle
    Edinburgh Castle
    Edinburgh Castle is a fortress which dominates the skyline of the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, from its position atop the volcanic Castle Rock. Human habitation of the site is dated back as far as the 9th century BC, although the nature of early settlement is unclear...

  • Dublin Castle
    Dublin Castle
    Dublin Castle off Dame Street, Dublin, Ireland, was until 1922 the fortified seat of British rule in Ireland, and is now a major Irish government complex. Most of it dates from the 18th century, though a castle has stood on the site since the days of King John, the first Lord of Ireland...

  • Prague Castle
    Prague Castle
    Prague Castle is a castle in Prague where the Kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman Emperors and presidents of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic have had their offices. The Czech Crown Jewels are kept here...

  • Tower of London
    Tower of London
    Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London, England. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, separated from the eastern edge of the City of London by the open space...

  • Tower of David
    Tower of David
    The Tower of David is an ancient citadel located near the Jaffa Gate entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem.Built to strengthen a strategically weak point in the Old City's defenses, the citadel that stands today was constructed during the 2nd century BC and subsequently destroyed and rebuilt by,...

     (Jerusalem)
  • Kars#Kars Citadel
  • Uzhhorod Castle
    Uzhhorod Castle
    Uzhhorod Castle is an extensive citadel on a hill in Uzhhorod, Ukraine. It was built in a mixture of architectural styles and materials between the 13th and 18th centuries and figured heavily in the history of Hungary...

  • Samuil's Fortress, Ohrid
    Samuil's Fortress, Ohrid
    Samuil's Fortress is a fortress in the old town of Ohrid, Republic of Macedonia. It was the capital of the First Bulgarian Empire during the rule of Samuil in the middle-ages...

  • Spandau Citadel
    Spandau Citadel
    The Spandau Citadel is a fortress in Berlin, Germany, one of the best-preserved Renaissance military structures of Europe. Built from 1559–94 atop a medieval fort on an island created by the meeting of the Havel and the Spree, it was designed to protect the town of Spandau, which is now...

  • Suomenlinna
    Suomenlinna
    Suomenlinna, until 1918 Viapori , or Sveaborg , is an inhabited sea fortress built on six islands , and which now forms part of the city of Helsinki, the capital of Finland.Suomenlinna is a UNESCO World Heritage site and popular with both tourists and locals, who...

     (Finland)
  • Rocca (architecture)
    Rocca (architecture)
    Rocca is an Italian term meaning a high, fortifiable stronghold, usually located in smaller towns, beneath or on which the village or town clustered, within which its inhabitants might take refuge at times of trouble; under its owners' patronage the settlement might hope to find prosperity in...

  • Cadmea
    Cadmea
    The Cadmea, or Cadmeia , was the citadel of ancient Thebes, Greece, named after the legendary founder of Thebes, Cadmus. The area is thought to have been settled since at least the early Bronze Age, although the history of settlement can only be reliably dated from the late Mycenaean period The...

  • Presidio
    Presidio
    A presidio is a fortified base established by the Spanish in North America between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries. The fortresses were built to protect against pirates, hostile native Americans and enemy colonists. Other presidios were held by Spain in the sixteenth and seventeenth...