UNESCO Heritage List
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The Blaye citadel is one of the fortifications that together with Fort Medoc and Fort Paté formed a defense system built on the Gironde estuary for the protection of Bordeaux.
Built on the Roman military fortification that during the Middle Ages became a medieval fortress the 34ha citadel is the work of the engineering genius Vauban and represented at its time, at the end of the 17th century, an example of state-of-the-art military architecture.
As a part of the so called "Vauban network" of forts spread all over France the Blaye citadel is listed since 2008 in the UNESCO's World Heritage.
The citadel of nowadays is a fortified village with homes, stores and restaurants. From its side overlooking the estuary one can admire the beautiful panorama of the enlarged river and see the rooftop of the Fort Paté - a private owned property only occasionally opened to visitors.
Standing in the North side of the fort are the vestiges of the former "Rudel" Castle, built in 1127, that still evoke the life of the troubadour and soldier Jaufré Rudel a crusader and Occitan poet whose main work is the poem "Faraway Love" dedicated to one of the ladies he met in the Holly Land.
Another epic hero linked to the Blaye citadel is Roland, the nephew of Charlemagne, King of Franks, and the inspiration to the famous poem "The Song of Roland" (La Chanson de Roland) - the oldest surviving major work of French literature.
According to the legend Roland, who was Count of Blaye and who was killed in war in 788 AD, was buried in the Saint-Romain basilica whose vestiges can still be seen inside the citadel.
Nice little town inside the fort!