/ / Watchtower: photo description (Tour du Guet)

Watchtower: photo description (Tour du Guet)

Watchtower, standing in Calais in the square of Weapons, is one of the oldest monuments of urban architecture. However, the age of this structure is known only approximately - IX or XIII century. If the tower was built in the IX century, it was intended to protect from the raids of the Normans. If it appeared four centuries later, it likely was built as part of the city fortifications by order of Philip count of Boulogne. Armory square has always been considered the heart of the city, and watch tower - the main symbol.

In the history of the town of Calais there is one episode, which was captured in bronze by the sculptor Auguste Rodin and to which some relevance has the watchtower. Front of the town hall of Calais in the late nineteenth century was set a monument "the burghers of Calais, Rodin. The sculptor depicted six citizens who volunteered to die for their fellow citizens in 1347, during the delivery of Calais to the troops of English king Edward III. The king demanded that the prominent citizens naked and with ropes on the neck gave him the keys to the city, after which Edward was determined to execute them. The will of the king was voiced by the commandant of the city, Jean de Vienne, climbing up to the Watchtower.

In the second half of XVI century the tower was split in two and collapsed after the incident of earthquake. Restored it about 25 years later. In 1658 the tower was burning and thereafter remained without repair for 30 years.

The main function of the tower was below the sentinel could day and night to observe the city streets with its height (nearly 40 metres) and alert of citizens in case of danger, whether the fire broke out or coming up to the city walls by the enemy. It is noteworthy that the last sentinel came down from the tower in 1926, and before that hour regularly and without interruptions was carrying his service. In addition, in the first half of the XIX century, the tower served as a lighthouse.

About the dangers of citizens reported using the bells. The first alarm bell was installed on it in the middle of the XIV century, the second, to replace him, in 1770. Two hundred years later the bell was removed and lowered to the ground near the tower.