Caernarfon Castle, tucked in the northwestern corner of Wales in the UK is a magnificent example of medieval castle building. Work began on the site over 700 years ago. In 1283, the English King Edward the 1st built this castle to stamp his authority on the rebellious Welsh. Edward adorned the castle with imperial grandeur such as these carved stone eagles and stone heads mounted all along the battlements. To would be attackers, these heads may have looked like helmeted soldiers and hopefully acted as a deterrent. On permanent lookout, they symbolised the strength of the royal garrison within. The castle’s curtain walls were unique in Britain at the time because they contained passages that ran between the towers. They allowed guards to keep a constant lookout, and also offered valuable protection to archers. Running between the outer and inner walls, they are over six meters thick and were a unique innovation at the time. All the towers here at Caernarfon Castle perform specific functions: there was the well tower retrieving fresh water from the bedrock, one tower that stored and processed grain, another that housed the treasurery, and others such as the lookout towers that held more traditional defensive roles. But the greatest of all has to be the Eagle tower, which contains the royal apartments where King Edward intended to stay with queen Eleanor. Every thing about it was designed on a grand regal scale. King Edward brought his heavily pregnant wife to stay in this tower. He wanted the next future king to be born in Wales. He was later given the title prince of Wales, which has been conferred on each first-born royal son ever since. Our own Prince Charles was invested here at Caernarfon in 1969. Caernarfon Castle is a world heritage site, and it’s gone from being what would have been a palace to being part of Caernarfon itself: a thoroughly absorbed landmark in the fabric of Wales.
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