Join 3,520 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Star forts from above
June 8, 2010 5:03 AM   Subscribe

Star forts from above (Google Maps links): Alba Iulia, Arad Fortress, Almeida, Bourtrange, Coevorden, Estremoz, Goryōkaku, Naarden, Neuf Brisach, Nicosia, Palmanova, Retranchement, Terezín, Willemstad. More.
posted by nthdegx (47 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cool. I never realized this sort of fortification was (relatively) common. Great collection of links.
posted by Ickster at 5:09 AM on June 8, 2010


Yeah - great links. Really interesting, diverting post nthdegx.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:20 AM on June 8, 2010


I was just in St. Augustine in March. Great place to spend an afternoon, and a very interesting side avenue of American history.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:28 AM on June 8, 2010


Beautiful. Also, check out these ramparts.
posted by The White Hat at 5:32 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's a partial one on the coast of Portugal west of Lisbon: Forte de São Julião da Barra.
posted by chavenet at 5:32 AM on June 8, 2010


damn whitehat beat me to it. Thats just down the road from me too
posted by ShawnString at 5:34 AM on June 8, 2010


There's some book on my virtual "reread it every few years" shelf that mentions (for a chapter or two) the history of the mathematical design of forts. It was based on real issues, such as sight lines, approachability and funneling of attackers into useful places, but some of it was a little like Kepler trying to fit the planetary orbits to platonic solids.
posted by DU at 5:47 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Awesome. Also:

Fort McHenry, Baltimore, MD.

The Citadel, Halifax, NS.

Fort Trumbull, New London, CT.

Fort Tigonderoga, Ticonderoga, NY.

Fort Duquesne and Fort Pitt, Pittsburgh, PA.

Fort Wayne, Detroit, MI.

Fort Niagra, Youngstown, NY.

If it was obvious that attack was most likely to come from a particular direction, it saved a lot of time and resources to only build up that side of the fort.

Here's what appears to be a relatively completely list of early American colonial forts.
posted by valkyryn at 5:47 AM on June 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Neat. Makes me want to visit them all.
posted by Forktine at 5:48 AM on June 8, 2010


Fantastic post. Makes me want to read up on fortress architecture in the age of gunpowder.
posted by immlass at 5:56 AM on June 8, 2010


I used to live just a ten minute bicycle ride from Naarden. Every time I would head over to spend a lazy afternoon wandering the streets, it would blow my mind that people actually lived there.

But I guess a lot of Europe is like that.
posted by 256 at 6:00 AM on June 8, 2010


Yay! Ft. Ticonderoga. Not as cool as the ones that cities grew up around and in, but one I've actually been to. Oh yeah, Ft. Morgan too.

Cool post, it made my morning a little bit better.
posted by marxchivist at 6:01 AM on June 8, 2010


Hmmmmphf. It is full of stars.
posted by blue_beetle at 6:03 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've always been fond of Fort Pulaski in Georgia. ICE CREAM CONE FORT!
posted by phunniemee at 6:07 AM on June 8, 2010


immlas, some of the relevant section of Chant and Goodman's Pre-Industrial Cities and Technology (ISBN 0-415-20076-8) is up on Google Books: pages 213-217, but alas, some of it isn't. Unfortunately not up that I can see is the massively relevant The Military Revolution Debate, the Military Transformation of Early Modern Europe, ISBN 0-8133-2053-4.
posted by nthdegx at 6:14 AM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Philadelphia! Right under the end of the PHL runway.

Wonderful post!
posted by carter at 6:14 AM on June 8, 2010


i was just watching this episode on ground war the other day. actually had a lot of detail on star forts and whatnot.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 6:28 AM on June 8, 2010


Kastellet, Copenhagen, Denmark
posted by AwkwardPause at 6:30 AM on June 8, 2010


Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban
posted by MarshallPoe at 6:34 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nicosia is too far faded for me.

For a primitive star, try Fort St Elmo in Malta.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:39 AM on June 8, 2010


nthdegx, thanks! I'll definitely have to check the Google books link out, and see whether I can get hold of the other book through my local library or UT.
posted by immlass at 6:46 AM on June 8, 2010


Apologies for spelling your username incorrectly!
posted by nthdegx at 6:52 AM on June 8, 2010


When I lived in Halifax, every time I saw this on a city map, I expected there to be a bit of advertising bumf inside: "Now with lemon!!" or something of the sort.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:15 AM on June 8, 2010


There is a star fort in Ninety Six, South Carolina which has a golf club right next to it where my mom would take my brother and I to the pool in the summers when we were kids. The fort is just called "Star Fort" and I never knew it was one of many star forts. Neat.
posted by ND¢ at 7:16 AM on June 8, 2010


On my office wall I've got a map made in the early 1700s of the fortifications around Augsberg and I can see those star thingies all over the darn place. Cool!
posted by Turtles all the way down at 7:33 AM on June 8, 2010


I suspect Terezin (Theresienstadt)'s other echoes will always be the first reasons for which it is remembered. Apologies for Godwinning the thread.
posted by Mike D at 7:36 AM on June 8, 2010


I glanced at the title and was kind of expecting Hollywood actors with blankets and sofa cushions.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:42 AM on June 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


We have the remains of star fortifications in Gdansk, but I don't think they've seen much action since Napoleon's boys dropped in.
posted by pracowity at 7:46 AM on June 8, 2010


If you want to read up on how to defend or attack one of these forts you need:

The Attac and Defence of Fortified Places by John Muller from 1757

Easily available from Amazon.

Full disclosure, my brother republished it.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 8:26 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


These are really neat, but I wonder about the point DU makes. Some of the features look quite practical ( like the elimination of "dead zones" pointy turret things ) but at some point it looks like an idea running away with itself.

Interesting that cannonade drove stone out of the picture.
posted by Trochanter at 8:28 AM on June 8, 2010


This is good stuff. Thanks!
posted by Shohn at 8:33 AM on June 8, 2010


This list will come in very handy during the zombie apocalypse.
posted by roue at 8:36 AM on June 8, 2010


La citadelle de Lille (It's page on French wikipedia is quite a bit longer than the English one).
posted by knapah at 8:38 AM on June 8, 2010


Bloody Hakeswill.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:59 AM on June 8, 2010


There's some book on my virtual "reread it every few years" shelf that mentions (for a chapter or two) the history of the mathematical design of forts.

Was it a novel by W.G. Sebald? I have a vague recollection of this as well.
posted by Falconetti at 9:07 AM on June 8, 2010


There is some kind of ironic message in the fact that the Statue of Liberty is built on top of a star fort.
posted by beagle at 9:19 AM on June 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Don't forget my hometown, Zwolle. Apparently this was all the rage for a while in The Netherlands in the 15th Century.
posted by monospace at 9:37 AM on June 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


There is some kind of ironic message in the fact that the Statue of Liberty is built on top of a star fort.

-She is the Mother of Exiles, and there is no "dead zone" in which evildoers who would oppress her newly-arrived charges can hide from her "Imprisoned Lightning Liberty Blast" like there would be if the fort had rounded corners.

-The builders knew Commissioner Bob Hauk would be using it someday.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:29 AM on June 8, 2010


By utter coincidence I had planned to go looking for star fort images this evening, just to have some on hand as art references. Super thanks for the post.
posted by jfuller at 10:57 AM on June 8, 2010


Ooo, these are neat! Just down the road from me is Fortress Monroe, Virginia (c. 1834).
posted by steef at 11:22 AM on June 8, 2010


For a deep insight into why cannonballs are responsible for star forts, see: James Burke's Connextions, Episode 9.
posted by pjern at 12:38 PM on June 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


New Yorkers should visit star-shaped Fort Jay this weekend. Free ferries (all summer) and a big art festival!
posted by moonmilk at 1:29 PM on June 8, 2010


It's interesting to see that most of the American star forts are empty, just parks or the like, while the ones outside of the US are still used/have cities in them.
posted by toekneebullard at 1:55 PM on June 8, 2010


Thanks, pjern. Great stuff.
posted by nthdegx at 2:38 PM on June 8, 2010


Fascinating stuff. Thanks.

If this interests you, then this game might, as well. Stronghold. I still have it on my computer and play it now and then.
posted by Splunge at 3:28 PM on June 8, 2010


Oh, wonderful post. :o) Thankyou!
posted by paperpete at 2:12 PM on June 9, 2010


Star forts! I love them. Vauban is the man.

A couple of years ago I was given a commission by a map dealer: to translate the 17th century Italian text on a group of hand-drawn military maps of a certain area of Northern Italy. I loved every minute of doing it. I've uploaded scans of some of them as a Photobucket album if anyone's interested: there are a couple of decent star forts and some very cunning entrenchments.
posted by Pallas Athena at 11:37 AM on June 10, 2010


« Older Fantomatick...  |  "As a child, there was nothing... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments