Ye Olde Arkansas Fortress

Many European countries are absolutely brimming with medieval castles and fortresses which are a tangible part of the local history, and which provide rock solid evidence of human occupation over many centuries.

The United States of America also has many sites which are testament to humankind’s occupation over many centuries, and although there are many dwellings formed from rock and stone, it would be very surprising to find anything in the U.S. as imposing as a medieval fortress – until now, that is.

If you drive to Lead Hill, which is located between Little Rock and Springfield in rural Arkansas, you may be amazed to see a full size replica medieval fortress grow before your very eyes.

Right there in the middle of the Ozark Mountains a team of architectural experts is working together with historians of the Middle Ages and dedicated artisans, to build a genuine, full-sized, fortified castle, with 24-foot high towers, a drawbridge, and 6-foot wide stone walls surrounding an expansive inner courtyard, using the materials, techniques, and rules of the 13th century.

In other words, no modern machinery is allowed to be used in the castle’s construction.

The project is going to take 30 authentically-dressed masons, carpenters and stone carvers 20 years to complete using 13th century work methods, techniques and tools to create a castle in the middle of a forest, on a natural site that provides all the water, stone, soil, sand, and wood that the project requires.

Called the Ozark Medieval Fortress, it is the brainchild of Frenchman Michel Guyot who has already built another medieval fortress in Saint-Fargeau, France.    

The reason for building a medieval fortress in the Ozark Mountains is simply to help people understand the past.

The fortress is a place where knowledge will be transmitted orally every day. For part of each day the workers and craftsmen will respond to questions from the time-travellers who are watching the Middle Ages trying in action.  This unique experience that the fortress offers will bring alive the intersection where book knowledge meets the fascinating and colourful reality of the Middle Ages. The experience of visiting the fortress will hopefully inspire students of all ages to support educational and scientific studies.

For those wishing to visit the Ozark Medieval Fortress, it can be found on Highway 14 between Omaha and Lead Hill in Arkansas.

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