Rising in the middle of Marseilles Bay, the island and castle Chateau If is one intriguing place where actual and real history of events over the centuries are blurring its borders.
Known as the castle of the Count of Monte Cristo IF begins to gain popularity after Alexandre Dumas published his great love and millions of people first novel in 1844. Standing on the rocky island castle If, is only about a mile from Marseille. It can easily be reached by boat cruise, and such leave regularly from the old port in this French city.
Among the big attractions of this second largest city in France are Notre Dame de la Garde and De La Dur, Pharos and Lonshan palaces and fortresses Saint Nicolas, Saint-Jean and Saint Mary's lighthouse. castle If is one of the magnets for the tourists in Marseille.
The foundations of the castle If were laid in 1524 by order of Francois I. Seven years later, in 1531, the King had already implemented a plan for erecting a fortress, to defend the city in attacks from the sea. In the 16th century the fortress and watchtower were both built. Oobjects of 22 guns and a garrison of 200 soldiers were deployed in the IF castle to defend the French honor.
After nearly a century since its construction in 1634 the castle If became a prison. Accused of plotting against the monarchy, the first prisoner in the castle If was, knigh Anselm. After a year spent outside the stone walls of the fortress, he found his death as he was strangled. All prisoners were placed in small cells without any windows in the basement. Of course, even in those years they had a double standard as the richer prisoners when sentenced to jail could give a solid charge to use large rooms with windows, fireplace and even wardrobes.
One of the cells had a sign stating that there lived the Iron Mask. However, there is no real credible evidence that it is true. However, this does not prevent thousands of tourists a year visiting the castle to see the cell of this mysterious person.
For three centuries around 3, 500 people stayed in the closed castle If, as there is no evidence that anyone was able to jump the massive walls of the fortress. This feat makes the fictional cult hero of Alexandre Dumas - Count of Monte Cristo, whose cell was one of the biggest attractions in the castle. In the late 19th century castle If was no longer used as a prison and by September 1890 it was opened to visitors.
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