The notion of citadel comes from the Italian word cittadella. The concept shows the influence of the term town: an urban space administered by a city council or municipality that is characterized by the large number of buildings, the high population density and the economy based on non-agricultural activities.

Returning to the idea of citadel, the notion refers to a fortified enclosure found within a city or stronghold (a strategic place that has the capacity to withstand an extensive siege). The citadels were frequent in the antiquity, generally counting on a moat and bastions or bastions.


A citadel is a fortified enclosure.

Characteristics of a citadel

The citadel is often considered a small city that was located within a larger city. It is also often said that a citadel was a strength with defensive walls and different buildings.

In general, the aim was to build the citadels in protected sites thanks to natural conditions (for example, in a ground high). A esplanade used to separate them from the city and presented a zigzag corridor behind the portico to impose an additional difficulty on the eventual invader.

With the construction of the citadel it was intended to provide refuge its inhabitants and facilitate the defense of the area. Depending on the region, the citadels had different qualities and even acquired specific names.

The Alcazar and the Kremlin

Sometimes particular names are used to refer to citadels of certain countries or with certain features. On Spain, to mention one case, is called alcazar to a palace or a fortified castle.

The Royal Alcazar of SevilleIn this framework, it is a palatial complex that was born in the High Middle Ages. The emir Abdullah III ordered his construction in a year 914 and thus a wall was built that adhered to another from the Roman period, surrounding a citadel. Inside this citadel there were barracks, stables and other dependencies.

If we go to Russia, we find the krémlines: walled enclosures that protected the most important buildings in a city. The best known is the Kremlin of Moscow, with walls and towers that protect four cathedrals and four palaces.


In Russia, a kremlin is a protected area with walls that protect important buildings.

Machu Picchu, the Inca citadel

It is common to name Macchu Picchu like a Inca citadel. However, there are experts who argue that the concept is not adequate since Macchu Picchu would not have had a use military.

Beyond this distinction, in the colloquial language it is usually mentioned to Macchu Picchu like a citadel. The complex has an urban and an agricultural sector, separated by a staircase, a moat and a wall.

Denomination of several current localities

Citadel It is also the name of different geographical divisions or administrative entities today. On Argentina, Citadel It is a city that is part of the party of February 3 (Province from Buenos Aires).

Citadel integrates what is known as Greater Buenos Aires, which includes the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires and to the surrounding cities. It was founded in late 1910 and has more than 73,000 population.

On Spain, meanwhile, is Citadel, a city of the Island from Minorca (autonomous community of Balearic Islands). About 30,000 people live in this area, which has very popular beaches.