A gate and barbican at a medieval castle

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The gate has always been a vulnerable gate of the castle (and sometimes you can hear their special name – barbican).

Traditionally, the gate was built to provide a controlled entry and exit point for people, vehicles, goods and animals from a walled castle.

Of course, if the entire castle is built of stone, then the easiest way is to break through the only wooden part of the structure. Therefore, the gate itself turned into a fortification, which consisted of a tower or even two. This design made it possible to fire at the attackers with relative impunity.

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There was a heavy iron lattice in the gate – a gersa. She was supposed to delay opponents while destroying the gate. Usually there was not enough money for a completely iron gersu, so it was only beaten with iron. The grill was usually in a raised state, but at the right time it was lowered. As a result, the enemy soldiers who had broken through the gates found themselves in front of a new obstacle. At large castles, the fortifications of the gates turned into a separate fortification. In this case, a barbican was built on the other side of the ditch. This is an additional tower or even several towers surrounded by a wall. As a result, in order to simply approach the castle gates, it was necessary not only to overcome the moat, but also to capture the barbican.

Lifting gate to a castle

At the same time, a bridge led from the barbican to the gate, which was either made liftable or very flimsy. A drawbridge can be pulled apart in the event of a siege, while a non-capital bridge can be easily destroyed.

Now you know what a gate and barbican of a medieval castle are. Look for even more interesting facts about the Middle Ages on our website.