In the center of a medieval castle there was always a donjon (not a citadel, these are different things). Usually, the keep is the largest and tallest tower. We can say that this is a mini fortress inside the fortress. This is the last line of defense for the defenders.
The walls of the keep are usually thicker than the outer fortifications, but this is not the rule. On the first floor of the keep, as a rule, no windows were made, and the entrance to the tower was often located at the level of the second floor. A wooden gallery led to it, which at the moment when the keep became the last line of defense, it could be easily destroyed or set on fire. The large tower housed the living quarters of the owner of the castle, an arsenal with weapons, and of course supplies of food in case of a siege.
Gradually, the keep turned into a castle citadel. In turn, the citadel is a whole fortified complex in the heart of the castle. Probably you have met such fortifications, where in the center there seems to be another small castle? So this is the citadel.
The Citadel’s job is to make it difficult to capture the castle when the defenders are fighting on the last line of defense. The walls of the citadel usually formed the inner courtyard of the castle. The citadel was usually very small and had a well in the center of the courtyard.
Now you know what a donjon and a citadel in a medieval castle are. Look for even more interesting facts about the Middle Ages on our website.
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