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Château de Guédelon
|Near Treigny, Yonne, Burgundy, France|
Guédelon Castle (Château de Guédelon) is a castle currently under construction near Treigny, France. The castle is the focus of an experimental archaeology project aimed at recreating a 13th-century castle and its environment using period technique, dress, and material.
In order to fully investigate the technology required in the past, the project is using only period construction techniques, tools, and costumes. Materials, including wood and stone, are all obtained locally. Jacques Moulin, chief architect for the project, designed the castle according to the architectural model developed during the 12th and 13th centuries by Philip II of France.
Construction started in 1997 under Michel Guyot, owner of Château de Saint-Fargeau, a castle in Saint-Fargeau 13 kilometres away. The site was chosen according to the availability of construction materials: an abandoned stone quarry, in a large forest, with a nearby pond. The site is in a rural woodland area and the nearest town is Saint-Sauveur-en-Puisaye, about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) to the northeast.
In 1979, French entrepreneur Michel Guyot purchased the ruins of the Château de Saint-Fargeau and began restoring it with profits raised on-site. In late 1995, a study by Guyot's staff revealed the medieval foundations beneath the modern, brick structure, complete with a hypothesized plan of the original castle. Guyot built the existing château after some consideration, but began assembling funds and experts and opening negotiations with the French government to build a new castle. Over five months in 1997, Guyot raised €400,000 from the European Union, local and the central French governments, and commercial entities. A former sandstone quarry, located in a woodland two hours south of Paris, was chosen as the site of Guédelon Castle because of its relative elevation and abundance in natural resources, whose transport would be expensive in the Middle Ages. Permission for construction was given by the commune of Treigny on 25 July 1997, and ground was broken the following year with the clearing of the site and the erection of the first workshops. The first stone was laid on 20 June 1997. Over the rest of that year and into 1998, the perimeter was built to a metre (3 feet) in height, following which Guédelon was opened to the public.
Guédelon Castle appeared in the 2004 documentary Europe in the Middle Ages, which was directed by Christian Twente and produced by Gruppe 5 Filmproduktion GmbH.
In November 2014 the castle was featured in the BBC Two series, Secrets of the Castle, in which the project was described as "the world's biggest archaeological experiment". The series features Ruth Goodman, Peter Ginn and Tom Pinfold. By 2014, the castle was attracting about 300,000 visitors annually, and had revenues of about three million euros.
The castle is projected to be complete in 2023.
- Campus Galli – a comparable project to construct a faithful medieval town with a monastery, based on the Plan of Saint Gall; in Meßkirch, Germany
- Castell Coch
- Castell Henllys
- Ozark Medieval Fortress – another, similar (but halted) castle project in Arkansas, USA
- Castle Drogo, an Edwardian imitation castle in England
- Basilica of Saint-Denis, reassembly of the north tower and its spire entirely financed by the site visits
- French frigate Hermione (2014) – a project to construct a faithful 18th century frigate
- List of castles in France
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- Hutz, Richard (2007). "'There Are Places I Remember': Situating the Medieval Past in Postmedieval Memory". Transfiguration vol. 6:2. Nordic Journal of Christianity and the Arts. Museum Tusculanum Press. pp. 89–108. ISBN 978-87-635-0701-1.
- Dossier Futura-Sciences article Guédelon : renaissance d'un château médiéval (in French)
- Building the Great Cathedrals (Television documentary). NOVA. 19 October 2010. Retrieved 20 October 2010.
- Guedelon 360°-Panoramatour (August 2011)
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