Chateau d’If is one of the most impressive fortresses in the world. Located on an island in the Frioul Archipelago of the Mediterranean Sea, Chateau d’If is actually placed in the proximity of Marseille.
Chateau d’If first impresses with its heavily fortified structure. It dates back to 1531, when its construction ended. Even though the castle was built with defense purposes, it has never fought off an attack. Still, because of its isolated location and quite dangerous offshore, Chateau d’If became the perfect prison. It was believed that this prison could not be escaped by anyone. This is why some of the most notorious prisoners in France were jailed here. Actually, no one is ever known to have been able to escape from Chateau d’If. From this point of view, the castle has been considered to be the French response to the famous Alcatraz.
Conditions in this prison are believed to have been really harsh, this is why prisoners were found insane or dead before their sentence was completed. Many of those who were imprisoned here, never left Chateau d’If, legends say. Nobel prisoners were commonly housed in the top cells of the prison, while the lower levels were left for the common people. There is even a dungeon accessible through a ceiling hatch, where it is claimed that prisoners were left to starve until death.
This castle has become widely known thanks to the novel The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas, as well as to the Hollywood production that presented this story. In the novel, the main character, Edmond Dantes, escapes from this prison after 14 years of trying to make his way out. Currently, the castle features a room named after the main character in Alexandre Dumas’ book, which actually is one of the main attractions of Chateau d’If. Its records indicate that there never was a prisoner named Edmond Dantes here.
Starting with the 19th century, Chateau d’If was no longer used as a prison. In 1890, it became an open tourist destination, for anyone to be able to visit. Visiting this spectacular construction will surely be a one of a time experience. The castle has a particular charm, that combines history and a sad past. Tourists can take a boat trip to the castle, to be able to admire both its impressive exterior and its obscure chambers. From the top of this fortress, a breathtaking view over the golf can be admired. Would you enjoy being here?
Photos source: commons.wikimedia.org
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