Thursday, April 19, 2012

La Roque Gageac, France - June 27, 2011

La Roque-Gageac is another defensively positioned village built onto the face of a limestone cliff on the bank of the Dordogne river. Today's population is a little over 400 people, way down from the 1,500 or so that thrived here on the river trade in the middle ages.
Threatened by Viking invasions among other hostiles, the defence of La Roque-Gageac relied on a then new development, that of being built into the side of a cliff to greatly reduce accessibility for would be invaders. The construction of the castle began in the 12th century and work continued on and off through to 17th century until, finally, it was abandoned in the 18th century.
In January 2010, a serious rockfall occurred and destroyed several sections of the fortress. This calamity followed earlier falls in 1920, 1957 (resulting in 3 deaths) and again in 1994. The site has been closed to the public and it is uncertain whether it will re-open.
Halfway up the cliff, next to the little church, is a garden of Mediterranean vegetation thriving in a micro-climate produced by the southern orientation and the absence of wind. See here for more views.

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