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Salses Fortress situated in the little village from which it took its name is a splendid example of the « transition » military architecture - that is the transition between the medieval fortress and the bastioned fortifications of the later centuries. It was build on the order of the Catholic Kings Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile starting in 1497 for the protection against French invasions. In 1503 the fortress resisted its first siege despite being unfinished. Its building continued in the first part of the 16th century.
The fortress has a rectangular plan (115 meters long and 90 meters wide) with round towers placed at each corner. It was built deep in the ground in order to evade in part the views and shots of the enemy. Its thick walls, sometimes up to 12 meters thick, were built to withstand the attacks of the newly invented at the time iron cannonballs.
The fort is divided into two parts separated by a large. The east part consists of a large courtyard, around which are arranged the accommodation of the garrison. The second part consists mainly of its dungeon. It is compartmentalized and its only access is the drawbridge.
Inside the fort a maze of tunnels and interior courtyards were meant to confuse the possible insider enemy.
In 1642 the fortress surrounded to the French armies and after the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659 lost its strategic significance.
April 1 to September 30: 10am to 6:30pm
October 1 to March 31: 10am to 12.15pm and 2pm to 5pm
Last guided tour 1 hour before closing the site
Closed: January 1st, May 1st, November 1st and 11th and December 25