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Jurgis Elisonas

Japanese castle in Azuchi-chō, Shiga Prefecture. It was the prototype of the sumptuous residential castles of the Momoyama period (1568–1600) of Japanese history (often called the Azuchi–Momoyama period, taking its name from the castle). This palatial citadel was built as the visible sign of the new order imposed on Japan by Oda Nobunaga, chief unifier of the country after a century of military conflict and political disorder. Begun in February 1576 and inaugurated as Nobunaga’s official residence on 5 June 1579, Azuchi Castle was burnt down by marauding soldiery on 4 July 1582, 13 days after Nobunaga was assassinated in Kyoto. Apart from the tiles, fragments of ceramic vessels and metal fittings uncovered in the course of archaeological surveys, stoneworks are all that remain.

The citadel was composed of the lord’s main castle, which was divided into three enceintes, and a number of separately enclosed outbuildings, the residences of Nobunaga’s principal vassals. Its grounds occupied ...


J. F. Morris

[Matsumotojō; Fukashijō; Gakojō; (Goose Lake Castle); Karasujō; (Raven Castle)]

Japanese site in the city of Matsumoto, central Nagano Prefecture. The castle, which was of the hirajiro (‘castle on a plain’) type, was important as an example of Azuchi–Momoyama-period (1568–1600) and Edo-period (1600–1868) architecture. The only surviving original buildings are in the donjon complex, consisting of a main donjon and a lesser donjon (both c. 1590s), a connecting gallery and two turrets (1633–8) adjoined to the main donjon. The complex has been designated a National Treasure. Most of the buildings in the castle were auctioned and demolished in 1872 after the abolition of domainal rule. The donjons were sold for some 235 ryō, but a petition of stay succeeded in preserving them. Repairs were carried out in 1903 by a local preservation society and in 1950–55 by the government. The restoration of 1950–55 used early photographs and other sources to restore 25 sections, primarily windows, staircases, pillars and loopholes....



Stella Nair, Önhan Tunca, E. P. Uphill, Rob Jameson, Thorsten Opper, Janet Delaine, James Stevens Curl, Jonathan M. Bloom, Christopher Tadgell, Roya Marefat, Stanislaus Fung, Chang Kyung-Ho, Bruce A. Coats, Sian E. Jay, J. C. Moughtin and H. Stanley Loten

Official residence of an emperor, king, pope, or other sovereign ruler. The word derives from the Palatine Hill in Rome, where the residence of the Emperor Augustus (reg 27 bcad 14) was sited. This building was later developed as the Palace of the Caesars, covering the entire hill, and the name began to be applied to all other royal and imperial residences, including those of earlier eras. It was also later given to the official dwelling of the archbishop or bishop in a cathedral city and was then extended to any episcopal residence. Subsequently, many princely mansions (e.g. the Belvedere, Vienna) and even ducal seats (e.g. Blenheim Palace, Oxon) came to be described as palaces, while the Italian term palazzo was given to the large private mansions of noble families in Italian cities (see Palazzo). Other large and imposing judicial, executive, or administrative buildings (e.g. the ...