Loopholes and mashikuli of the medieval castle

бойницы и машикули castle men

To fight the enemy, holes were made in the walls and towers of the castle – loopholes, and sometimes mashikuli. They were made very narrow on the outside and wide on the inside. This allowed the archer to take a position convenient for shelling. And it was very difficult for the enemy riflemen to hit the thin crack in the wall.

The hinged loopholes were called mashikuli. They were used for shooting from top to bottom at those who came close to the wall, as well as for throwing stones at them and pouring boiling water over them with tar or whatever was at hand.


The episodic use of mashicules has been known since ancient times. However, everywhere they entered the serf architecture in the Middle Ages. In Western Europe, the developed stone mashiculi were preceded by loopholes with an inclined lower surface. But such loopholes did not allow shelling the foot of the walls.

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Mashikuli were used to eliminate the non-shootable space at the foot of the walls that arose when defensive fire was fired from loopholes. The popularity of mashikuli was not the same everywhere. For example, in France they were used very widely. Usually in England they were arranged only above the entrance to the castle.

Another type of mashikuli are loopholes, arranged without a parapet forward. They are simply carved into vertical walls. For example, these are often found within the walls of monasteries in Russia. In addition, fake (false) mashikuli are also known. In this case, a very small extension is made beyond the wall line and there are no through holes of loopholes in them.

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