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Egypt: Islamists hit Christian churches

Posted in News with tags on August 22, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Egypt: Islamists hit Christian churches

Associated Press

HAMZA HENDAWI 6 hours ago  http://news.yahoo.com/egypt-islamists-hit-christian-churches-235144103.html
The Evangelical Church of Malawi is left in ruins Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013, after it was ransacked, looted and burned on Thursday by an angry mob, in Malawi, south of Minya, Egypt. In the province of Minya south of Cairo, protesters attacked two Christian churches, security officials said. (AP Photo/Roger Anis, El Shorouk Newspaper)

CAIRO (AP) — After torching a Franciscan school, Islamists paraded three nuns on the streets like “prisoners of war” before a Muslim woman offered them refuge. Two other women working at the school were sexually harassed and abused as they fought their way through a mob.

In the four days since security forces cleared two sit-in camps by supporters of Egypt’s ousted president, Islamists have attacked dozens of Coptic churches along with homes and businesses owned by the Christian minority. The campaign of intimidation appears to be a warning to Christians outside Cairo to stand down from political activism.

Christians have long suffered from discrimination and violence in Muslim majority Egypt, where they make up 10 percent of the population of 90 million. Attacks increased after the Islamists rose to power in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that drove Hosni Mubarak from power, emboldening extremists. But Christians have come further under fire since President Mohammed Morsi was ousted on July 3, sparking a wave of Islamist anger led by Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Nearly 40 churches have been looted and torched, while 23 others have been attacked and heavily damaged since Wednesday, when chaos erupted after Egypt’s military-backed interim administration moved in to clear two camps packed with protesters calling for Morsi’s reinstatement, killing scores of protesters and sparking deadly clashes nationwide.

One of the world’s oldest Christian communities has generally kept a low-profile, but has become more politically active since Mubarak was ousted and Christians sought to ensure fair treatment in the aftermath.

Rows of display cases are broken and empty at the Malawi Antiquities Museum after it was ransacked and looted between the evening of Thursday, Aug. 15 and the morning of Friday, Aug. 16, 2013 in Malawi, south of Minya, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013. The interim Cabinet authorized police to use deadly force against anyone targeting police and state institutions on Thursday. The violence capped off a week that saw more than 700 people killed across the country. (AP Photo/Roger Anis, El Shorouk Newspaper) EGYPT OUT
Rows of display cases are broken and empty at the Malawi Antiquities Museum after it was ransacked and looted between the evening of Thursday, Aug. 15 and the morning of Friday, Aug. 16, 2013 in Malawi, south of Minya, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013. The interim Cabinet authorized police to use deadly force against anyone targeting police and state institutions on Thursday. The violence capped off a week that saw more than 700 people killed across the country. (AP Photo/Roger Anis, El Shorouk Newspaper) EGYPT OUT

Many Morsi supporters say Christians played a disproportionately large role in the days of mass rallies, with millions demanding that he step down ahead of the coup.

Despite the violence, Egypt’s Coptic Christian church renewed its commitment to the new political order Friday, saying in a statement that it stood by the army and the police in their fight against “the armed violent groups and black terrorism.”

While the Christians of Egypt have endured attacks by extremists, they have drawn closer to moderate Muslims in some places, in a rare show of solidarity.

Hundreds from both communities thronged two monasteries in the province of Bani Suef south of Cairo to thwart what they had expected to be imminent attacks on Saturday, local activist Girgis Waheeb said. Activists reported similar examples elsewhere in regions south of Cairo, but not enough to provide effective protection of churches and monasteries.

Waheeb, other activists and victims of the latest wave of attacks blame the police as much as hard-line Islamists for what happened. The attacks, they said, coincided with assaults on police stations in provinces like Bani Suef and Minya, leaving most police pinned down to defend their stations or reinforcing others rather than rushing to the rescue of Christians under attack.

View gallery.”

Map locates cities where Christians have been targeted; …

Map locates cities where Christians have been targeted; 1c x 4 inches; 46.5 mm x 101 mm;

Another Christian activist, Ezzat Ibrahim of Minya, a province also south of Cairo where Christians make up around 35 percent of the population, said police have melted away from seven of the region’s nine districts, leaving the extremists to act with near impunity.

Two Christians have been killed since Wednesday, including a taxi driver who strayed into a protest by Morsi supporters in Alexandria and another man who was shot to death by Islamists in the southern province of Sohag, according to security officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to release the information.

The attacks served as a reminder that Islamists, while on the defensive in Cairo, maintain influence and the ability to stage violence in provincial strongholds with a large minority of Christians.

Gamaa Islamiya, the hard-line Islamist group that wields considerable influence in provinces south of Cairo, denied any link to the attacks. The Muslim Brotherhood, which has led the defiant protest against Morsi’s ouster, has condemned the attacks, spokesman Mourad Ali said.

Sister Manal is the principal of the Franciscan school in Bani Suef. She was having breakfast with two visiting nuns when news broke of the clearance of the two sit-in camps by police, killing hundreds. In an ordeal that lasted about six hours, she, sisters Abeer and Demiana and a handful of school employees saw a mob break into the school through the wall and windows, loot its contents, knock off the cross on the street gate and replace it with a black banner resembling the flag of al-Qaida.

Egyptians walk in the ruins of the Evangelical Church of Malawi after it was ransacked, looted and burned on Thursday by an angry mob, in Malawi, south of Minya, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013. In the province of Minya south of Cairo, protesters attacked two Christian churches, security officials said. Many of Morsi's supporters have criticized Egypt's Christian minority for largely supporting the military's decision to remove him from office, and dozens of churches have been attacked this week. (AP Photo/Roger Anis, El Shorouk Newspaper) EGYPT OUT

An Egyptian walks in the ruins of the Evangelical Church …

Associated Press 

Roger Anis, El Shorouk Newspaper 13 hours ago
An Egyptian walks in the ruins of the Evangelical Church of Malawi Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013, after it was ransacked, looted and burned on Thursday by an angry mob, in Malawi, south of Minya, Egypt. In the province of Minya, protesters attacked two Christian churches, security officials said. (AP Photo/Roger Anis, El Shorouk Newspaper)

By the time the Islamists ordered them out, fire was raging at every corner of the 115-year-old main building and two recent additions. Money saved for a new school was gone, said Manal, and every computer, projector, desk and chair was hauled away. Frantic SOS calls to the police, including senior officers with children at the school, produced promises of quick response but no one came.

The Islamists gave her just enough time to grab some clothes.

In an hourlong telephone interview with The Associated Press, Manal, 47, recounted her ordeal while trapped at the school with others as the fire raged in the ground floor and a battle between police and Islamists went on out on the street. At times she was overwhelmed by the toxic fumes from the fire in the library or the whiffs of tears gas used by the police outside.

Sister Manal recalled being told a week earlier by the policeman father of one pupil that her school was targeted by hard-line Islamists convinced that it was giving an inappropriate education to Muslim children. She paid no attention, comfortable in the belief that a school that had an equal number of Muslim and Christian pupils could not be targeted by Muslim extremists. She was wrong.

The school has a high-profile location. It is across the road from the main railway station and adjacent to a busy bus terminal that in recent weeks attracted a large number of Islamists headed to Cairo to join the larger of two sit-in camps by Morsi’s supporters. The area of the school is also in one of Bani Suef’s main bastions of Islamists from Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood and ultraconservative Salafis.

 Egyptian gather in the ruins of the Evangelical Church of Malawi after it was ransacked, looted and burned on Thursday by an angry mob, in Malawi, south of Minya, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013. In the province of Minya south of Cairo, protesters attacked two Christian churches, security officials said. Many of Morsi's supporters have criticized Egypt's Christian minority for largely supporting the military's decision to remove him from office, and dozens of churches have been attacked this week. (AP Photo/Roger Anis, El Shorouk Newspaper) EGYPT OUTEgyptian gather in the ruins of the Evangelical Church of Malawi after it was ransacked, looted and burned on Thursday by an angry mob, in Malawi, south of Minya, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013. In the province of Minya south of Cairo, protesters attacked two Christian churches, security officials said. Many of Morsi's supporters have criticized Egypt's Christian minority for largely supporting the military's decision to remove him from office, and dozens of churches have been attacked this week. (AP Photo/Roger Anis, El Shorouk Newspaper) EGYPT OUTEgyptian gather in the ruins of the Evangelical Church of Malawi after it was ransacked, looted and burned on Thursday by an angry mob, in Malawi, south of Minya, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013. In the province of Minya south of Cairo, protesters attacked two Christian churches, security officials said. Many of Morsi's supporters have criticized Egypt's Christian minority for largely supporting the military's decision to remove him from office, and dozens of churches have been attacked this week. (AP Photo/Roger Anis, El Shorouk Newspaper) EGYPT OUT
Associated Press 

Roger Anis, El Shorouk Newspaper 13 hours ago
Egyptian gather in the ruins of the Evangelical Church of Malawi after it was ransacked, looted and burned on Thursday by an angry mob, in Malawi, south of Minya, Egypt, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013. In the province of Minya south of Cairo, protesters attacked two Christian churches, security officials said. Many of Morsi’s supporters have criticized Egypt’s Christian minority for largely supporting the military’s decision to remove him from office, and dozens of churches have been attacked this week. (AP Photo/Roger Anis, El Shorouk Newspaper) EGYPT OUT

“We are nuns. We rely on God and the angels to protect us,” she said. “At the end, they paraded us like prisoners of war and hurled abuse at us as they led us from one alley to another without telling us where they were taking us,” she said. A Muslim woman who once taught at the school spotted Manal and the two other nuns as they walked past her home, attracting a crowd of curious onlookers.

“I remembered her, her name is Saadiyah. She offered to take us in and said she can protect us since her son-in-law was a policeman. We accepted her offer,” she said. Two Christian women employed by the school, siblings Wardah and Bedour, had to fight their way out of the mob, while groped, hit and insulted by the extremists. “I looked at that and it was very nasty,” said Manal.

The incident at the Franciscan school was repeated at Minya where a Catholic school was razed to the ground by an arson attack and a Christian orphanage was also torched.

“I am terrified and unable to focus,” said Boulos Fahmy, the pastor of a Catholic church a short distance away from Manal’s school. “I am expecting an attack on my church any time now,” he said Saturday.

Bishoy Alfons Naguib, a 33-year-old businessman from Minya, has a similarly harrowing story.

Egyptians walk in the ruins of the Evangelical Church of Malawi after it was ransacked, looted and b …

His home supplies store on a main commercial street in the provincial capital, also called Minya, was torched this week and the flames consumed everything inside.

“A neighbor called me and said the store was on fire. When I arrived, three extremists with knifes approached me menacingly when they realized I was the owner,” recounted Naguib. His father and brother pleaded with the men to spare him. Luckily, he said, someone shouted that a Christian boy was filming the proceedings using his cell phone, so the crowd rushed toward the boy shouting “Nusrani, Nusrani,” the Quranic word for Christians which has become a derogatory way of referring to them in today’s Egypt.

Naguib ran up a nearby building where he has an apartment and locked himself in. After waiting there for a while, he left the apartment, ran up to the roof and jumped to the next door building, then exited at a safe distance from the crowd.

“On our Mustafa Fahmy street, the Islamists had earlier painted a red X on Muslim stores and a black X on Christian stores,” he said. “You can be sure that the ones with a red X are intact.”

In Fayoum, an oasis province southwest of Cairo, Islamists looted and torched five churches, according to Bishop Ibram, the local head of the Coptic Orthodox church, by far the largest of Egypt’s Christian denominations. He said he had instructed Christians and clerics alike not to try to resist the mobs of Islamists, fearing any loss of life.

A damaged object lies on the floor of the Malawi Antiquities …

A damaged object lies on the floor of the Malawi Antiquities Museum after it was ransacked and loote …

“The looters were so diligent that they came back to one of the five churches they had ransacked to see if they can get more,” he told the AP. “They were loading our chairs and benches on trucks and when they had no space for more, they destroyed them.”

L.A. Restaurant Charges $20 for Bottle of Water on Pricey New Water Menu

Posted in News with tags on August 15, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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ABC News Blogs

L.A. Restaurant Charges $20 for Bottle of Water on Pricey New Water Menu

By  | ABC News Blogs – 4 hours ago

http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/l-restaurant-charges-20-bottle-water-pricey-water-115851406.html

Ray’s and Stark Bar, a restaurant located inside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, has introduced an exclusive water menu featuring bottled waters from around the world, all curated by the nation’s first ever water sommelier.

The water menu was introduced last month. It was created by the restaurant’s general manager and water sommelier, Martin Riese, and features 20 sparkling and still brands from 12 different countries.

The menu on the restaurant’s website describes the waters in varying degrees of sweet, salty, smooth and complex, and the brands vary in price.

Iskilde, a still water from Denmark, costs $12 per one-liter bottle. Badoit, a sparkling water from France, costs $8 per .75 liter-bottle. This water was said to pair “well with sweet wine and cheese,” according to the menu.

Beverly Hills 90H20 ( the Los Angeles Time reported that this is Riese’s own brand) sells for $16 per one-liter bottle. It’s described as “pristine spring water from Northern California mountains” that is “combined with a select balance of natural minerals, resulting in a 7.5 pH alkalinity, and a silky smooth, incredibly crisp taste profile.”

At $20 for a .75-liter bottle, Berg, a glacial still water from Greenland, is the most expensive water on the menu.

A .75-liter bottle of Evian costs $8.

Riese is considered an expert on water. In fact, he co-wrote “Die Welt des Wasser (World of Water),” a book on the subject, according to his company profile.

 

L.A. Restaurant Charges $20 for Bottle of Water on Pricey New Water Menu

 

 

 

Britain weighs legal action against Spain on Gibraltar

Posted in News with tags on August 15, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Britain weighs legal action against Spain on Gibraltar

Reuters

William James and Peter Griffiths 20 hours ago

By William James and Peter Griffiths

 

Drivers wait in line to enter the British territory of Gibraltar at its border with Spain in front of the Rock of Gibraltarin La Linea de la Concepcion

 

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain warned Spain on Monday it might take legal action to try to force Madrid to abandon tighter controls at the border with the contested British overseas territory of Gibraltar in what it called an “unprecedented” step against a European ally.

The warning coincided with the departure of a British warship for Gibraltar, played down by the British and Spanish governments as part of a long planned, routine exercise but which underscored heightened tensions over the territory.

A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said the Spanish border checks, imposed after Gibraltar created an artificial reef which Spain said blocked its fishing vessels, were “disproportionate” and “politically motivated”.

Tensions over the rocky outpost at the mouth of the Mediterranean to which Spain lays claim have turned into one of the worst rows in years between the two European Union states.

View gallery.”

 

A woman takes a photo as drivers wait in line to enter …

 

A woman takes a photo with her mobile phone as drivers wait in line to enter to Spain at its border  …

“The prime minister is disappointed by the failure of the Spanish to remove the additional border checks this weekend and we are now considering what legal action is open to us,” Cameron’s spokesman said, arguing they breached EU law.

“This would be an unprecedented step,” he added.

Opposition politicians in Spain have accused Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of using the situation to distract Spaniards from the country’s severe recession and a corruption scandal.

Spain said it would not back down over the border controls which it said were a legal and proportionate step to prevent money laundering and smuggling of tobacco and other products.

If Britain chooses to test whether those restrictions breach EU law on freedom of movement, the case is likely to end up in the European Court of Justice. Judgements there can take years, although special cases can be fast-tracked.

View gallery.”

 

Tourists wait for a bus after visiting the British …

 

Tourists wait for a bus after visiting the British territory of Gibraltar in front of the Rock of Gi …

“There are some conceivable other international fora where you can discuss the issue but in terms of a proper litigation process the only one would be the European Court of Justice,” said Mats Persson, director of the Open Europe think-tank.

SPAIN TO PRESS CLAIM

The territory, which has a population of 30,000 and relies on tourism, the gambling industry and offshore banking, was ceded to Britain by Spain in the 1713 Treaty of Utrecht.

Spain’s tougher checks at the 1.2 km (0.75 mile) border have caused long delays for thousands of tourists and local people. Madrid also aired the idea of imposing a border crossing fee and of banning planes using its airspace to reach Gibraltar.

 

 

A Spanish foreign ministry spokeswoman on Monday restated her country’s position that it was considering through which international forum it could press its claim to Gibraltar.

HMS Westminster, a British Royal Navy warship set sail for the territory on Monday as part of an annual Mediterranean military exercise which both Spain and Britain say has been long planned and is unrelated to the dispute.

It evoked the 16th century naval rivalry between the two countries in which the English repelled an attempt by the Spanish Armada to try to invade England in 1588 and the Spanish defeated an English “Counter Armada” the following year.

A spokesman for the European Commission Jonathan Todd confirmed on Monday that a team of Commission officials would travel to Gibraltar in September to verify compliance with EU rules on frontier controls.

(Additional reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, Fiona Ortiz in Madrid and Charlie Dunmore in Brussels; Editing by Andrew Osborn, Guy Faulconbridge and Philippa Fletcher)

 

Snake-bite victim socked with $55K bill

Posted in News with tags on August 15, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Snake-bite victim socked with $55K bill

 August 12, 2013The Sideshow

Snakebite victim's harrowing hospital bill (NBC4)

A Maryland woman treated for a snake bite received another shocker: a $55,000 medical bill.

Jules Weiss had stopped to take a photo at an overlook along the George Washington Parkway. On the way back to her car, she felt something bite her.

“It felt just like a bee sting,” Weiss told local station NBC4. “There were two fang marks with liquid coming out.”

The former emergency medical technician had suffered a copperhead snake bite. Within an hour, she said, her foot turned “grayish” and started to swell.

She went to Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md., where she received three IV bags of antivenom over 18 hours. Then, the scary part: a whopping $55,000 bill for treatment.

“It’s not a number I can really wrap my head around,” Weiss said. Health insurance would bring the cost down to a few hundred dollars, according to NBC4. But the woman’s insurance had just lapsed. Antivenom involves milking individual snakes and is a costly treatment.

The Bethesda Hospital told NBC4 it can cost as much as $40,000 to get the antivenom.

That’s not the only pricey treatment for an animal attack: Last year, a woman in Arizona stung by a scorpionreceived a bill of $83,000 for the antivenom treatment — a staggering cost of $40,000 a dose. Even after insurance, Marcie Edmonds still owed the hospital $25,000.

Waves of Trash in Surfer Paradise

Posted in News with tags on August 15, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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ABC News Blogs

Waves of Trash in Surfer Paradise

By  | ABC News Blogs – 5 hours ago

http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/waves-trash-surfer-paradise-100052474.html

Surf champion Dede Suryana surfs through a slick of trash in Indonesia.

Good Morning America/(Zak Noyle/A-Frame) – Surf champion Dede Suryana surfs through a slick of trash in Indonesia.

It’s what many imagine as paradise: Crystal-clear, blue-green waters perfect for catching a wave.

But the reality is sometimes far different, as captured by surf photographer Zak Noyle on a recent trip to Indonesia. On assignment for Surf Magazine, where he’s a staff photographer charged with traveling the world in search of perfect waves, he flew to a remote spot near Bali where there were “no people only jungle and wild animals around.”

“The trash suddenly showed up while we were out in the water in a large mass, including tree trunks the size of cars, lots of food wrappers and bottles as well, we even saw soccer balls floating amongst the debris,” he said. “I kept on thinking I would be seeing a body of some type of animal or something float by.”

The debris and trash, he said, came in with the very swell Noyle was there to photograph. “It came in a large field seemingly out of nowhere and covered the entire area we were in and then washed ashore. At one point it was as far as the eye could see.”

Noyle was living on a small fishing boat with no means to clean up all the trash.

The remote location – it took almost 24 hours of flying, 12 hours of driving and an eight-hour boat ride to get there- made the trash all the more surprising. “The trash was devastating to see, it seemed to have been adrift for awhile and came in with the large swell into this bay that we were at. I love the ocean and we need to take care of it.”

For more photos, visit Noyle’s web site.

Sinking Florida resort villa evacuated

Posted in News with tags on August 15, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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Sinking Florida resort villa evacuated

http://news.yahoo.com/sinking-florida-resort-villa-evacuated-061940938.html

Associated Press

ALMA RODRIGUEZ 6 hours ago
 A building at the Summer Bay Resort in Clermont, Fla, shows damage from collapsing into a sinkhole early Monday Aug. 12, 2013. No injuries or victims and all emergency responders were safe and uninjured. All guests that were rescued are being moved to a different building on the property. (AP Photo/Alma Rodriquez)

CLERMONT, Fla. (AP) — A sinkhole cracked the foundation in a villa housing vacationers at a central Florida resort near Disney World on Sunday, causing the building to slowly sink and prompting the evacuation of the hotel, authorities said.

Lake County Sheriff’s Sgt. James Vachon told WESH in Orlando the incident at the Summer Bay Resort in Clermont caused structural damage and firefighters and sheriff’s deputies were working the scene together. No injuries were reported.

Witnesses told The Associated Press they could hear a cracking sound as the villa sank. A large crack was visible at the building’s base.

Luis Perez, who was staying at a villa near the sinking one, said he was in his room when the lights went off around 11:30 p.m. He said he was on his way to the front desk to report the outage when he saw firefighters and police outside.

“I started walking toward where they were at and you could see the building leaning and you could see a big crack at the base of the building,” said Perez, 54, of Berona, N.J.

He called the other vacationers in his group and had them come outside. Eventually, he said, authorities evacuated his villa and a third one as well.

Summer Bay Resort is about 10 miles west of Disney World.

Wanna buy a medieval castle? Now’s your chance.

Posted in News with tags on August 9, 2013 by 2eyeswatching

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MODERN RUINS

Wanna buy a medieval castle? Now’s your chance.

 

Okay, sure — this run down castle in France doesn’t look like much. But just think, for a mere $680,000 it could be all yours! ALL YOURS!

Located in Normandy, France, it’s an Anglo-Norman castle that was on the front lines in the wars between England and France during the Middle Ages.

Wanna buy a medieval castle? Now's your chance.

And now it’s for sale. Yes, Château-sur-Epte Castle could use some touch-ups, but as real estate agent Patrice Besse points out, it’s got some real potential:

In terms of restoration, enlightened enthusiasts will find more than enough to assuage their passion especially as the proximity to Paris and the possibility of renovating the most recent house relatively quickly will enable them to live on site. Grants and tax deductions linked to the historic monument classification should make it possible to revive these admirable walls, stood in a magnificent, peaceful setting.

Jeez, looking at Besse’s websitethere’s a bunch of castles for sale. Who knew? But none appear to be quite as old as this one.

Wanna buy a medieval castle? Now's your chance.

Wanna buy a medieval castle? Now's your chance.

Wanna buy a medieval castle? Now's your chance.

Wanna buy a medieval castle? Now's your chance.

Medievalists.net describes the history of the castle:

King William II began building Château-sur-Epte Castle in 1097 in an area known as the Vexin. The castle controlled a portion of the border between the Anglo-Norman Kingdom and France. In July 1119, French king Louis VI laid siege to the castle during his conflict with Henry I, but had to withdraw when one of his own castle’s was threatened by Henry’s forces.

King Henry II reinforced the castle in the latter half of the twelfth-century. It saw action again in the Hundred Years War, and was captured by English forces in 1437. After the Middle Ages the importance of the castle declined and in 1647 it was partially dismantled. It has since become the site to a farm, and during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries barn and houses were built around the former courtyard.

[Via Medievalists.net; Image: Patrice Besse]

 

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