Uncomprehensive Guide to Castle Walls

2018 5

(View of the town of Silves from inside the castle wall)

I realised I didn’t show you pictures of the castle walls or even the town walls around Silves. Probably because I was talking about the hidden things, like the well and mosaics. Castle walls are a little harder to hide and why would you want to hide them anyway? Castle and town walls are by definition supposed to be seen. You really want the marauding enemy to think, Oh look at the size of those stone walls, we’ll never get in there, let’s go to the next town!

2018 1

(The entrance to the castle with huge statue)

Or in modern times you want the tourists to think, Oh look at those amazing stone walls, let’s go have a look! Walls give the best value for money when they can be seen. The colour of your wall is key too. You don’t want to look like all the other town walls but as stone is very heavy it’s probably best to choose it from your local area, that cuts down on delivery costs. I just hope it’s a good colour. 

2018 9

(Inside the castle walls)

The positioning of your walls is very important. The absolute best place to site your wall is on top of a hill. If your chosen hill is a bit high and you don’t want excessive gusts of wind you could build your wall into the hill and use the hill as a natural defence. This would have the advantage of also looking very attractive to the tourists.

2018 13

(Deep foundations of the old town walls. Can you see the arch up top for a gateway?)

Of course you will also need to have deep foundations. These will not be seen (unless things go very badly for your wall… ) but everyone will know they are down there under the earth keeping everything in place. Let us not forget gates. Without them no one can get in. I know what you’re thinking – keep everyone out – well yes, but… you will starve.

2018 12

(Can you see these foundations? There were palatial houses within the castle walls)

Finally, if possible please add some toilets. Each monument I have visited in Portugal has excellent toilets, I am so grateful. You don’t know for sure what future visitors to your wall will need… except for toilets, they will definitely need toilets. Not too visible is best but err on the side of easy to find, if you are unsure.

Have I forgotten anything? Mairead.

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