The Citadel of Blaye, designed by the famous military engineer Sébastien Vauban, was built between 1685 and 1689 on the Gironde Estuary in France. The citadel’s construction took place during the reign of Louis XIV to protect the city of Bordeaux. In fact, there was a three-level defense system through the 50 km stream going up to the city from the estuary. It consisted of the Citadel of Blaye, Fort Pâté, and finally the Fort Médoc in Cussac-Fort-Médoc. Known as the “Bolt of the Estuary,” the Citadel of Blaye and two other Vauban fortifications have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2008.
Built to protect the city of Bordeaux, the Citadel of Blaye overlooks the Gironde Estuary, the largest one in Europe.
Being the largest of the three fortifications, the citadel consists of 1.6 km of ramparts, four bastions, underground passages, and other structures including a chapel and a prison. During the construction, Vauban also incorporated some parts of the ruins of a 7th-century castle built on the site. Today, there is a small population still inhabiting parts of the citadel.