Tonight we are having a triple feature watching Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent and Malefcent: Mistress of Evil for our #Movienightfriday. What you may not know is that Sleeping Beauty was set in France but by the Swiss Alps as you can see when Aurora is singing “Once Upon a Dream.” Now I will talk far more about France when I cover Cinderella, but Sleeping Beauty is a great example of architecture and Medieval Castles. But to recap that lesson, Sleeping Beauty’s castle both in the film and in Disneyland, California are based on Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany.
Medieval castles were built from the 11th century CE for rulers to demonstrate their wealth and power to the local populace, to provide a place of defence and safe retreat in the case of attack, defend strategically important sites like river crossings, passages through hills, mountains and frontiers, and as a place of residence. Whether a permanent home for a local lord or a temporary one for a ruler embarking on a tour of their kingdom, castles were converted from wood into stone and became ever more impressive structures with more and more defensive features such as round towers and fortified gates.
The typical features of a medieval castle were:
- Moat – a perimeter ditch with or without water
- Barbican – a fortification to protect a gate
- Curtain Walls & Towers – the perimeter defensive wall
- Fortified Gatehouse – the main castle entrance
- Keep (aka Donjon or Great Tower) – the largest tower and best stronghold of the castle
- Bailey or Inner Ward (courtyard) – the area within a curtain wall.
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