The largest and most magnificent castle of the Loire is Chambord. From the very history of this castle, it blows romance, because Chambord was built by Francis I so that the king could be closer to his lover - the Countess of Turi, who lived nearby - and at the same time able to receive guests in the royal residence Chateau de Chambord in France.
It is surprising that it took only 29 years to build such a giant (from 1519 to 1547) - by medieval standards it took very little time. But such a pace of construction became possible only because one of the largest construction sites of the Renaissance epoch was deployed here, where almost 2,000 workers worked daily.
In addition to the scale, the difficulty of construction work should also be noted, because the castle was erected on a marshland, because of which the workers had to drive the foundation piles into the ground by 12 meters, and many builders who worked here died from a marsh fever.
During recent preventive excavations under the castle, remains of a round, sandstone-like tower from the castle of the Duke of Orleans (Louis XII), destroyed by Francis I for the construction of his hunting castle in the Italian Renaissance style, were found.
It is quite possible that Francis I's favorite, Leonardo da Vinci, who lived in the castle of Clos-Luce, but who died just before the construction of the residence, had a hand in the project of the castle. The likelihood of his participation is great, if only because the king tried to use the unprecedented talent of Leonardo almost everywhere.
Chateau de Chambord (France): architectural features
Chateau de Chambord is one of the most recognizable castles in France and is considered one of the clearest examples of Renaissance architecture. The facade of the castle stretches for 156 meters, its width is 117 meters, and in 426 rooms you can easily get lost
Although Chambord was not intended to repel enemy attacks, it was built on the model of the most fortified strongholds of that time - this is why the outer walls of the castle surround the central donjon.
Donjon consists of 5 floors, each of which has 4 square and 4 round rooms
Later, the king expanded the castle and settled in its eastern wing, in the direction of Jerusalem - with this unusual gesture Francis I wanted to show that he was the ruler of the spiritual authority of France.
The appearance of Leonardo is clearly manifested in the form of the central staircase of the castle. The huge double-way spiral staircase is designed in such a way that both its parts turn in a spiral in one direction, without intersecting once, so that people who are rising do not come across those who decide to go down and vice versa.
The staircase leads to the terrace, also designed by Da Vinci, by which you can slowly bypass the entire donjon around the perimeter, admiring the Renaissance capitals and chimneys.
The donjon is crowned by a turret, reaching a modest height of 32 meters, which, nevertheless, allows it to rise above all other turrets and chimneys of the castle. An interesting feature of the tower is that at its very top there is not a familiar cross, but a royal lily.
The ceilings of the second floor of the castle are decorated with the emblems of Francis I (crowned with a crown monogram F and a salamander) accompanied by a cord in knots — the emblems of his mother, Louise of Savoy. It is also interesting that the monograms of the stairs at the level of the terraces are turned, “so that God could see the royal power from the height of the sky”!
Francis I himself, after the completion of construction, visited Chambord only a few times - mainly to hunt and show off in front of Spaniard Charles V, showing him his wealth and greatness. After the death of Francis I, the castle was abandoned altogether, and after a while Louis XIII presented it to his brother Gaston of Orleans.
The next king of France, Louis IV, ordered a little to rebuild the interior of the castle as Versailles (to connect the four living rooms of the northern vestibule of the second floor into a suite of royal chambers) and build a new roof for the chapel
By the way, it was in the Chambord castle that on October 14, 1670, the first theatrical production of the play by Molière “A bourgeois by nobility” took place.
Later, the overthrown Polish monarch Stanislav Leschinsky lived in the castle, then the barracks of the Moritz regiment were located here, after which the castle’s premises were completely devoted to the chemical laboratory of Count Saint-Germain
Chambord Castle (France) suffered during the French Revolution - all the furniture went under the hammer, and the castle goes hand in hand, not staying in the possession of someone for a long time and only in 1930 did the French government finally buy it from the then owner Elia of Bourbon for 11 million gold francs
The castle survived the Second World War tolerably - only in 1945 the roof of the southeastern donjon partially burned, and from 1947 large-scale restoration work began, subsequently turning Chambord into an important tourist site, which still attracts crowds of tourists.
By the way, the Chambord castle park is today Europe’s largest fenced forest-type park - an area of 5,441 hectares (of which 1,000 hectares are open to the public) is surrounded by the longest wall in France, 32 km long! In 1981, Chambord Castle, along with the adjacent park, was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Sometimes the facade of the castle is turned into a colossal light installation - at such moments it is an amazing and incomparable spectacle ...