Thursday, August 23, 2012

Castle for Sale: Fortress of Miolans, Savoy

This impressive medieval castle is located in the heart of the Savoy Valley, and is situated on a strategic site 200 meters (550 feet) above the hamlet of Miolans, which part of the small town of St-Pierre Albigny in eastern France.

The site has been occupied since the 4th century AD, with the earliest reference to the fortress going back to 1083. By the second half of the 14th century, the lords of Miolans extended the fortifications with a second tower, and a third tower was added in the early 16th century.

In 1523 the ownership of the castle passed to the Counts of Savoy, and for the next two hundred years would serve as a prison. More than 200 people could be kept within the fortress, which became known as the Bastille of the Alps. The names of its dungeons included Hell, Purgatory, Paradise and Treasury. Among its most notable ‘guests’ was the Marquis de Sade, until he escaped in 1792. All the prisoners were freed during the French Revolution and the castle fell into ruin. It has currently been in the same family for almost six generations and the entire fortress was given full listing by the French Historic Monument Society in 1944.

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