Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Nuremburg Castle, for Kyla

There are many things to enjoy about this German City, but significant to me, Nuremburg is my first European Castle.  Kyla, I told you I saw a castle today, and I think you would have loved it as much as I did.  Here’s the details I think you will like.

Primarily, a castle is meant to keep those inside the walls safe from attack.  A really good castle completely discourages anyone from wanting to try.  This was a really good castle. 

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First of all, it’s outer walls are zig-zagged so there’s always a good view of anyone coming.  There was only one real way into the castle, and it was a fairly narrow, uphill, and with a strong left turn before you came to the first wooden gate.  Narrow, so large numbers couldn’t easily come in at once.  Uphill, because it is difficult to carry a battering ram uphill and around a bend.  Left-turning because soldiers held their swords in their right hands and shields in their left, so the pointy side of the soldiers were exposed to the defensive walls, making them open targets with no protection.  Then, if anyone made it to and through the wooden gate, they were in this tunnel. 



If you look up, you’ll see four or five of these in the ceiling, perfect for throwing burning straw, chamber pots, or anything else that might come to mind down upon the intruders below.



If attackers made it past all that, they would find themselves in a smallish courtyard with the tunnel behind them, an iron gate in from of them, and high walls with  arrows surrounding them.

Funny, but in the five hundred years or so since it was built, this castle was never attacked.  It took 20th century bombs to do some damage, but even then, there will still parts of the castle that were used successfully as bomb shelters.

Remember that Daddy and I have been building walls in our backyard for 11 years?  These walls supposedly took just seven.  People were “motivated” by the local authority and after one false start, it was quickly built.  You can tell which stones are original from the holes drilled in the middle of the rock.  They used cranes with pincers to lift the stones, and to keep the rock from slipping a small hole was drilled an inch of so into opposite sides before it was hoisted.



Because the castle was built on high ground, a well had to be awfully deep to reach water.  Back in the day, workers had to dig 150feet down—and it took 10 minutes to get one bucket of water up! 



One day, we’ll take all three of you to see a castle or two.  And if Daddy has his way, he’ll build one!




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