Star forts, or bastion forts, trace italienne, are fortifications in the style that evolved during the age of gunpowder when cannon came to dominate the battlefield. Star forts first appeared in Italy at the end of the 15th century. The design of the star fort did away with “dead zones,” or areas in which an attacker cannot be brought under fire, by the use of triangular bastions which command all approaches. The star fort concept was adopted by nearly every European nation and in the New World from the 16th through 19th centuries.
Palmanova sits in the northeastern section of Italy and was founded by the Republic of Venice in 1593. Designed as part of an idealized city plan to have a self-sustaining population, when the city was first built no one wanted to move there.
The small village of Bourtange is tucked inside this gorgeous Dutch fortification originally built in the 16th century. In 1851 the Netherlands decommissioned the fort and the area became your normal, picturesque Dutch village, but in the mid-20th century the local government restored the fort to encourage tourism.
Charles Fort, Ireland
Fort McHenry, Maryland
This American star fort, built in 1798, is most famous as the inspiration for the national anthem, Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner, which he penned after the Battle of Baltimore during the War of 1812.
Nossa Senhora da Graça Fort
Naarden Star Fort
Established in 1300, the town of Naarden was taken over by Spanish troops in 1572, and when the Dutch regained control shortly thereafter, they built up its fortifications. But it was conquered 100 years later by Louis XIV. The fort as it stands today was completed in 1685.