Amazing Ancient Citadels Everyone Should Visit At Least Once In A Lifetime

If you’re someone that is at all interested in history, you’ve probably come across the notion of a citadel. The following will explore a few stellar citadels worth visiting.

arched passage with columns in aged building

What Is A Citadel?

Citadels are core areas of towns or cities that have been fortified. You may hear them described as castles, fortresses, or fortified centers. Often, the citadel is the strongest part of a fortification system, even if walls and bastions are part of the system. In most cases, citadels were designed to be the last layer of defense in a city, should the enemy breach other elements of the fortification.

The Ruins At Mohenjo-daro, Sindh, Pakistan

The first evidence we have for citadels can be found in the area where the Indus Valley Civilization thrived somewhere between 3300 and 1300 BC. While the citadel at Mohenjo-daro isn’t standing fully today, the ruins are still impressive and filled with that ethereal quality that truly ancient things have. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is an entire city, discovered in 1922, revealed a lot to archaeologists about the art, religion, customs, and even administrative capabilities that the residents had. The city is well planned by modern standards and contains a college of priests, public baths, wells, a complex drainage system, a large granary, and soak pits for sewage disposal. The citadel area is to the west, where a Buddhist stupa was constructed. The term Mohenjo-daro means Mound of the Dead Men, and the local is not only home to a fantastic citadel but is evidence of one of the world’s first major cities that we know about.

The Acropolis, Athens, Greece

The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel that can be found on a rocky outcrop above the city of Athens in Greece. It contains several ancient buildings of profound historical significance, including the famed Parthenon. The word acropolis comes from Greek and combines the terms highest point and city. Because of this generic name, there are many acropoleis throughout Greece. If you’re looking to book an Acropolis ticket in advance (the lines can be quite long, especially in the busy season), you want to be sure that you’re booking for the Acropolis of Athens. The hill overlooking Athens has evidence of inhabitation as early as the fourth millennium BC, and the citadel that rests atop it was built sometime between 495 and 429 BC under the reign of famed politician Pericles. The site contains several buildings worth seeing and exploring, including the Parthenon, the Temple of Athena Nike (an Ionic temple dedicated to the Nike form of the goddess Athena), the Erechtheion (a great hall, sanctuary, relic house, and temple of Athena Polias) and the Propylaea (a fabulous gatehouse). The site was damaged during the Morean War in 1687 when gunpowder being stored in the Parthenon was struck by Venetian bombardment.

Tower of David, Jerusalem, Israel

The Tower of David is an ancient citadel that can be found near the Jaffa Gate entrance to Jerusalem’s Old City. The citadel that is currently standing dates to the Ottoman and Mamluk periods and was built atop a series of earlier fortifications from the Hasmonean, Herodian, Byzantine, and Early Muslim periods. The site was destroyed repeatedly during the Crusades and has presented archaeologists with finds from more than 2500 years ago. There are three Hasmonean towers standing at the site that were altered by the famed king Herod. Not only is the site impressive architecturally, but it is brimming with historical moments of great importance, for this location was a critical part of the Abrahamic religions and the man wars fought by their adherents throughout the ages. You can discover more secrets of Israel at and see how to make the most of your visit to the Tower of David and explore the city. Whether you are visiting for religious or historical reasons, it is an experience not to be missed!

Citadel Of Nice, Nice, France

During the Italian War of 1542 to 1546, when the Franco-Ottoman alliance consisting of Francis I and Suleiman the Magnificent challenged the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V and Henry VIII of England, a siege took place in Nice. Charles III, Duke of Savoy, held the city of Nice as Ottoman forces under the famed Hayreddin Barbarossa. While they did eventually surrender the city, the citadel itself was never taken. Indeed, many thought it couldn’t be taken. The Castle of Nice is a beautiful citadel overlooking the bay of Nice. The weather in this location is also spectacular, making it an excellent choice for a relaxing vacation.

The above information should have revealed to you a few of the world’s great citadels. Of course, this list is nowhere near exhaustive. Take the time to research your current location and any citadels that might be found there. You’ll be surprised how many historically-rich, mesmerizing citadel sites there are to see in the world.

Krystal | Sunny Sweet Days
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