The Bastille (French: Bastille), best known for being a prison – thus operating from the early 17th century until the late 18th century – was initially conceived only as a gateway to the Parisian street of Saint-Antoine, in the France, which was why it was called the Bastille of Saint-Antoine. It was where today the Place de la Bastille (Place de la Bastille) is located in Paris.

It was known to have been the scene of the historic event known as the Taking of the Bastille, on July 14, 1789, which allied with the Pledge of the Péle, is among the most important events of the beginning of the French Revolution.

The event was grandly celebrated exactly one year later (on July 14, 1790) at the pompous party that became known as the Fête de la Fédération. From 1880 the party became national holiday, it is the French National Feast also known as the 14 Juillet. In November of 1789 the Bastille was totally demolished.

The Bastille was built as “Bastion of Saint-Antoine” during the Hundred Years War, by Charles V of France. Initially it served only as a gateway to the district of Saint-Antoine, but from 1370 to 1383 the portal was enlarged and reformed to become a fortress, which would serve to defend the east side of Paris, in addition to a royal palace that stood in the vicinity, constituting itself in the strongest point of defense of the wall of the king. After the war, it began to be used by French royalty as a state prison (King Louis XIII was the first to send prisoners there).

The Bastille was built as an irregular rectangle. The structure was 90 meters long, 37 meters deep, 68 meters wide with towers and walls 24 meters high, and 3 meters thick at its bases. Originally, it had in its interior two courtyards, besides residential buildings against the walls. A pair of towers on the east and west facades served as the initial gateway to the Saint-Antoine district.

A significant military feature of the building is that the walls and towers were the same height, and were connected by a large terrace. This enabled the soldiers in the front wall to move quickly to a threatened section of the fortress without needing to descend inside the towers, as well as enabling easy positioning of defensive artillery.

A construction very similar to the Bastille can be seen today in the Châteaux de Tarancon. The bastille was very beautiful on the outside, but not on the inside.

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