We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Citadel?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Historical Index is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Historical Index, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A citadel is a fortress which is designed to be extremely easy to defend, ensuring that it can be protected in the event of an attack. Citadels have historically been used to protect military installations and prominent government leaders, and also as a place of refuge for the citizens of the area the citadel is located in. As a general rule, citadels are installed on hills and in other areas which command an excellent view of the region, and they are typically in or very close to cities.

Fortresses have been a part of human settlement for a very long time. In addition to protecting the people within the fortification, fortresses can also help to protect the people in the surrounding area. The presence of a citadel was meant to send a clear message to potential antagonists, indicating that a city would be capable of defending itself in the event of attack, and that the citizens would not welcome any attempt at a takeover. As a result, citadels often inspired loyalty from the citizens, who viewed the citadel and its staff as guardians and protectors.

Citadels have also been used to house militaries, along with leaders. In areas which found themselves frequently under attack, the gates of the citadel would be opened for citizens seeking shelter, with the people enclosed in the citadel relying on reserves of food and water to sustain themselves until it was safe to go out. Many citadels were quite large, encompassing fields for crops and animals to ensure that the residents would not run out of food in a siege.

The word “citadel” comes from the same Latin root as the word “city.” Both are derived from civitas, which means “citizen.” “Citadel” comes from the Italian cittadella, or “little city,” a reference to the fact that a citadel can operate as a self enclosed city for weeks, months, or sometimes even years. Citadels were typically surrounded by bastions, extremely thick, zig-zagging walls which allowed people on the inside to defend the citadel from attackers.

A number of citadels can be found scattered around Europe and other parts of the world today, although most are no longer used for their traditional purpose. Since traditional fortifications are not as necessary as they once were, many citadels are now used to house museums, showcasing artifacts which provide a glimpse of what life inside the citadel might have been like.

Historical Index is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a Historical Index researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments

By Bertie68 — On Jul 01, 2011

On a cruise to San Juan, Puerto Rico, we saw one of several citadels, that once protected the Caribbean Island. Spain built these huge citadels to protect the harbor of San Juan and the city.

These citadels were built on a cliff high above the ocean. It had very thick walls. Thick sea walls were built along the water.

It was a beautiful sight coming toward the harbor and seeing the massive fortifications up above. It would have been intimidating for a ship in olden times if they came with the intentions of attacking the island.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
Historical Index, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Historical Index, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.