The Model Castle of Coucy

Part 1

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The exhibitions’s main attraction is the monumental authentic model, the Donjon of Coucy. It had survived from the Middle Ages but was reduced to near-rubble in 1917 as German troops blew it up when redeploying in World War I. Constructed in no more than three years’ time, it was the largest residential tower ever built in Europe: 54m ( 160ft ) tall, 31m ( 100ft ) in diameter, with walls up to 7.5m ( 24ft ) thick.

The exhibit shows the castle as it was in 1339, at the beginning of the Hundred Years’ War waged between France and England, when it was unsuccessfully besieged by English troops. The siege is graphicallybrought to life by presenting the enemy attempt at undermining the tower. Catapults and other missile-throwing apparatuses as well as assault towers and siege engines as presented in the exhibit offer a good impression of what military technology was like at the time. However, there are also scenes representing courtly society, complete with a knights’ banquet, jugglers, dancers, musicians, mountebanks, pages, cooks and artisans.

 Measurements: base 6m x 6m ( 18ft x 18ft ); c. 2.40m ( 8ft ) high; in 1/25 scale.

2,500 handcrafted figurines.

Castle and Donjon of Coucy: History and Description

Castle and Donjon of Coucy: Photographies taken before destruction and after destruction in 1917
Provenience: Franch and German archives and private collections

Model of Castle at Coucy
Our exhibition has at its fascinating center piece the authentic model of the castle at Coucy near Soissons represented on the scale 1:25. The model has a 2.4 m high defensive tower and more than 2
500 figurines (knights, servants, horses...), shown either engaged in the siege on the outer side of the castle or in scenes of courtly life inside the castle.

Model of French Knights' Jousting Tournament
For scholar and student alike the highlight of the exhibition is provided by the French Knights' Jousting Tournament. The model was created by students of Aachen Einhard Gymnasium and Montessori secondary School in history and arts classes.

Pictures of the
model the Donjon of Coucy

Front side of the modell: view from the outer baily into the base court

Back side of the modell: The base court / its Donjon shown in the cross section

Base area of the
modell: 6 x 6 m

Fotos: Bernhard Siepen

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Copyright: Gesellschaft für Internationale Burgenkunde e.V., Aachen
Stand: 25.02.2008