Gothic capital

French art and military architecture in the same building.

Gothic capital

Medieval castles soon stopped being enclosures to protect the defenceless population in the event of danger to become a symbol of feudal power and a tool in the service of the interests of a class.

Built at about 1240 by Archbishop Xoán Arias, the castle was originally designed as a stronghold but also as a residence of the prelate of Santiago. Xoán Arias commissioned abundant works like the unfinished project of the Gothic cathedral or the alteration of the refectory of Xelmírez, and had the contribution of French master architects like Pedro Beneth, the introducer of Gothic art in Galicia.

The castle-residence of Rocha Forte must have had civil elements that made the military premises more comfortable: the keep would have had a hearth and kitchens, living rooms, latrines, chapels and ornamental details like this capital unearthed during the archaeological excavations. This capital with plant motifs (as well as bond stones with volutes and mouldings) is an instance of the introduction of French-influenced Gothic art in military and civil architecture of Galician feudal lords.

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