We came to Quebec City, specifically to learn more about its historic fortifications. The Martello Towers (three out of four left) are part of the Fortifications National Historic Site but are not close to each other. We found Tower 1 on the Plains of Abraham, overlooking the St. Lawrence and Charles rivers. Though it was locked on our visit in late September, we still spent time looking at the exterior, both on ground level and up a flight of outside stairs to where the entrance door is.
Constructed of stone in the early 1800s to protect the city against a possible American invasion, the two-story structure seemed to be in good condition. It is squat and cylindrical with slightly inclining exterior walls and built to house a powder magazine on the lower level and a gun-carriage platform above. Only one other tourist came by while we were there.
Later, we went to Tower 2 at the corner of Laurier and Tache streets, an urban, residential setting at one of the highest points in the city. The exterior had already been decorated for Halloween and it looked like the interior was being transformed into a haunted tower for the holiday.
We did not go to Tower 4, the last still standing. But it is located at the corner of Lavigeur and Philippe-Dorval streets. Based on what we did see, however, I think that taking a look at Tower 1 is sufficient for a good understanding of how this defense system worked.
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