Skip to main content


Castel del Monte, Andria

On top of a small hill overlooking the comune of Andria, in the Italian region Apulia, stands one of the strangest looking castle. This 13th century citadel is octagonal in shape, with each of the eight corners sporting an octagonal tower. Its geometric design was very unique at that time.

The castle was built in 1240 by the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, but nobody knows why. It was not built to defend anything, as it has neither a moat nor a drawbridge, although archaeological work suggest there might have been originally a curtain wall. Some believe that Castel del Monte was nothing more than a hunting lodge.

When it was built, the castle was not as isolated as it appears today. The region was famously fertile with a plentiful supply of water and lush vegetation. There was also a monastery close by—the monastery of Santa Maria del Monte—from which the castle appears to take its name.

There is only one document from Frederick II’s era which speaks of Castel del Monte’s construction. In the document dating to 1240, the Emperor ordered the governor of Capitanata to finish some works on the castle. The nature of the work was not clear. Also, there is no document that mentions Frederick II ever using the castle. On the contrary, there is evidence that the castle was used as a prison instead, as early as year 1246. Eventually, it became a refuge during a plague.

The castle’s unique octagonal shape has been a subject of debate among scholars. Frederick II was responsible for the construction of many castles in Apulia. None, aside from Castel del Monte, has the octagonal shape. Some historians suggest that the octagon is an intermediate symbol between a square (representing the earth) and a circle (representing the sky). Frederick II may have been inspired to build to this shape by either the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, which he had seen during the Sixth Crusade, or by the Palace Chapel of Aachen Cathedral.

The castle once had lavishly decorated rooms with marble floors and columns, mosaics, paintings and tapestries, but all were stripped by vandals in the 18th century.

In the 1990s, the castle was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Site citing it as “a unique masterpiece of medieval architecture”.

Sources: Wikipedia / Treccani

Popular posts from this blog

New Criss-Crossing Tape Sculptures From Megan Geckler's

On show at the The state of utah Art gallery of Modern Art until Feb 23 are Megan Geckler's new site-specific installations designed with her trademark content - flagging tape. Using cautious statistical computations, she changes the space with shiny jolts of shade. The show, named“No chance to move backwards and see,” attracts from geometrical illusionism and concepts of style. Not only will guests get to see several of her flip sculptural performs, they'll also come experience to deal with with her wonderful weaved walls painting.

MasterCard Makes simpler Purchasing with Release of PayPass Pockets Services

MasterCard (NYSE:MA) today declared PayPass Pockets Solutions, a new international providing for financial institutions, suppliers and associates that will create it quicker and simpler for their customers to shop in stores or on the internet by enabling them to safely pay with a easy computer mouse click, touch of the product screen or tap of the mobile phone.

The Diving Horses of Atlantic City

For nearly half a century, Atlantic City, in New Jersey, United States, was home to an attraction almost too fantastical to believe—an apparently fearless horse with a young woman on its back would leap off a tower some 40 feet high into a pool of water below. The stunt took place at Atlantic City's popular venue Steel Pier, where trained horses took the plunge up to four times a day and seven days a week.