THREAD: IS THIS THE WORLD'S MOST CONTROVERSIAL CASTLE?
A $100m castle in the middle of a lake is going up, and no one knows how to stop it
The heyday of castle-building in northern Europe was probably in the thirteenth century, when patron-engineer teams like Edward I of England and Master James of St George threw up monster fortresses like Caernarfon and Beaumaris. But - or so I usually say when I’m droning on about this stuff - once gunpowder and cannon came along at the end of the Middle Ages, the castle’s defensive utility declined, and so did the political imperative to spend the equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars on building them.
Yet just because something has gone out of fashion, that doesn’t mean it has gone for good, as a project underway for several years in western Poland demonstrates. On the middle of a lake in Notecka forest - an area officially under EU environmental protection - years of construction are yielding a massive castle-shaped residence with a 70m tower, 14 floors and room to house nearly 100 people.
You can check out more of the the details in this article. The bottom line is, it’s massive and kind of impressive, but there are serious concerns over the environmental impact of this ‘castle’. (There is more information on those objections here.) And although opponents of the project have been successful in throwing up legal obstacles, the investors/builders seem to have disregarded all injunctions to stop work and carried merrily on - I suppose on the basis that they’re building a goddamn medieval castle and ignoring your enemies when they complain about it is kind of in the spirit of things.
I’d love to know more about what’s going on here. Who’s building it? Who’s going to live there? Will it have vats of boiling oil and murder-holes as well as a sick swimming pool, theatre and fitness centre? Unfortunately my ability to Google my way to higher knowledge is limited by the fact that I don’t read Polish and there are only a few news website articles about the project in English.
So this is one for discussion, rather than instant enlightenment. Would you live in a castle like this? Are we right to worry a bit more than Edward I did about the environmental impact of castle-building? Should we all be thinking of building castles again, now that European Armageddon seems to be a slightly more realistic prospect than it did a few years back?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below (you’ll need to be a subscriber) and when I finally get to recording/uploading the new First Draft audio post on Friday (I know, I know) I’ll try and include the best.
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