Medieval Cornwall witnessed the construction of a great castle near the historical village of Tintagel. Named for the village, Tintagel Castle in the United Kingdom was built by one of the wealthiest men of his day, Richard, Earl of Cornwall, who hailed from the House of Plantagenet. Moreover, as the legendary birthplace of King Arthur, the ruins of Tintagel Castle have become a renowned tourist attraction.
According to archaeologists, the area of Tintagel Castle was visited by the Romans in the first century A.D. who found the region sparsely populated with British Iron Age tribes. Roman artifacts like pottery and coins have been discovered around Tintagel, but no Roman settlement has been confirmed. The area remained remote until it gained popularity for its tin industry. With the eventual departure of the Romans, southern Britain split into various kingships. The region of Tintagel came under the rule of the Kingdom of Dumnonia.
During the early medieval period, the site of Tintagel Castle was tenanted by Dumnonian royalty for part of the year—at least it is believed so by most historians who sometimes debate this theory. Archaeologists have discovered a wide range of luxury items that date back to this period—some of them imported from far-flung places like Phoenicia. Apparently, Tintagel was an important dock for imports from southern Europe.
At some period of its history, the region of Cornwall became associated with Arthurian legend. While Tintagel is most prominently associated with King Arthur, it also features into some of the Arthurian tales of Tristan and Iseult. In 1233, Richard, Earl of Cornwall, desired to make this legendary connection with Cornish kings more tangible and had Tintagel Castle built. The castle, however, did not appear to be needed for the purposes of fortification of the area. By the end of the Middle Ages, the castle began to fall into disrepair. Once part of its roof was removed, its dilapidation became increasingly more pronounced over time.
During the nineteenth century, the castle’s ruins became a popular tourist destination. The popularity of Arthurian Legend made the castle a romantic attraction. The ruins are situated on a rocky stretch of coastline that overlooks the Celtic Sea. Nearly 200,000 people visit the ruins each year. The Camelot Castle Hotel is a favorite accommodation for travelers to the ruins. The picturesque scenery of Cornwall also draws many visitors. There is a lovely beach within an hour’s walk of Tintagel that is also a popular destination of the region. For lovers of myth and legend, Tintagel Castle is a must-see attraction.
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