Castle of Annecy


castle of annecy

The Castle of Annecy is a restored medieval fortress placed on top of a promontory of the Semnoz Mountains overlooking Lake Annecy and dominating the old French town with the same name.
The location was strategically chosen to observe the routes linking Geneva to Italy at the point where bridges crossed the Thiou River. In fact, a fortress used to stand on the very hill since the 8th century.
Building on the present castle started in the 12th century when the Counts of Geneva made the fortress their residence following their eviction from Geneva by the Prince-Bishop. The Queen's Tower (Tour de la Reine), that probably replaced an older keep that stood on the site, dates from that period.
Annecy Castle was destroyed by fire in the 14th century and it was subsequently rebuilt to the same shape by Count Amadeus of Geneva. Several modifications made in the following two centuries added to the castle's medieval defensive architecture. The alterations that were performed in the 16th century are typical examples of Renaissance architecture. Large windows that adorn the facades and wall paintings decorating many of the rooms clearly indicate the growing importance of luxury and comfort to be found in lordly residences.
In 1630, the castle was taken by French King Louis XIII, who also spent a few days at the property. In the 17th century, the building was abandoned and it later served as military barracks until the end of World War II. In 1953, the town of Annecy acquired the castle from the Ministry of Defense, restored it and installed a museum inside.
The castle today
Today, Castle of Annecy is a good illustration of how castle architecture changed between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period. The Queen's Tower is the oldest part of the castle; with its 4 m thick walls and 38 m height, it was solely used for defensive and military purposes. On the other hand, the Logis Nemours and the Logis Neuf, were built during Renaissance and are of a completely different architecture.
The castle houses the Museum of Regional Art and the Alpine Lakes Regional Observatory as well as various temporary exhibitions. On display, collections related to regional heritage, underwater archeology, medieval sculpture, landscape painting and other exhibits. Not far, on the other side of the lake, another superb castle: Castle of Menthon-Saint-Bernard.

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Annecy, Haute-Savoie department , France
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12th century

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