A merlon is the solid upright section of a battlement (a crenellated parapet) in medieval architecture or fortifications.[1] Merlons are sometimes pierced by narrow, vertical embrasures or slits designed for observation and fire. The space between two merlons is called a crenel, and a succession of merlons and crenels is a crenellation.[2] Crenels designed in later eras for use by cannons were also called embrasures.[3]

Almeria Zinnen der Alcazaba fcm
Merlons of the Alcazaba in Almería, Spain


The word comes from the French language, adapted from the Italian merlone, possibly a shortened form of mergola, connected with Latin mergae (pitchfork), or from a diminutive moerulus, from murus or moerus (a wall). An alternative etymology suggests that the medieval Latin merulus (mentioned from the end of the 10th century) functioned as a diminutive of Latin merle, "blackbird", expressing an image of this bird sitting on a wall.

As part of battlements

As an essential part of battlements, merlons were used in fortifications for millennia. The best-known examples appear on medieval buildings, where battlements, though defensive, could be attractively formed, thus having a secondary decorative purpose. Some (especially later) buildings have false "decorative battlements". The two most notable European variants in Middle Ages merlons shape were the Ghibelline and the Guelph merlon: the former ended in the upper part with a swallow-tailed form, while the latter term indicates the normal rectangular shape merlons (wimperg).

Other shapes include: three-pointed, quatrefoil, shielded, flower-like, rounded (typical of Islamic and African world), pyramidal, etc., depending either from the type of attacks expected or aesthetic considerations.

In Roman times, the merlons had a width sufficient to shelter a single man. As new weapons appeared in the Middle Ages (including crossbows and the first firearms), the merlons were enlarged and provided with loop-holes of various dimensions and shapes, varying from simply rounded to cruciform. From the 13th century, the merlons could also be used to pivot wooden shutters; these added further protection for the defenders when they were not firing, or were firing downwards near the base of the wall. The shutters (also known as "mantlets") could be opened by hand, or by using a pulley.

Castello di St.Pierre

Ghibelline merlons in the Castle of St. Pierre, Italy

Castello montechino torrione

Guelphs merlons in the Castle of Montechino, Italy

Genova-Castello Mackenzie-DSCF8928

Guelph merlons in the Mackenzie castle, Genoa

Later use

Merlons and Crenels, Moscow Kremlin
Merlons and crenels, Moscow Kremlin

After falling out of favour when the invention of the cannon forced fortifications to take a much lower profile, merlons re-emerged as decorative features in buildings constructed in the neo-Gothic style of the 19th century.

The Three Merlons

The three peaks of today's Tre Cime di Lavaredo in the Italian Dolomites were originally known as the Drei Zinnen, German for the Three Merlons.

See also


  1. ^ Friar, Stephen (2003). The Sutton Companion to Castles, Sutton Publishing, Stroud, 2003, p. 202. ISBN 978-0-7509-3994-2
  2. ^ J. E. Kaufmann; H. W. Kaufmann; Robert M. Jurga (2004). The medieval fortress: castles, forts and walled cities of the Middle Ages. Da Capo Press. p. 307. ISBN 978-0-306-81358-0.
  3. ^ Ward Bucher (1996). Dictionary of building preservation. Wiley-Interscience. pp. 43, 126, and 165. ISBN 978-0-471-14413-7.
  • Balestracci, D. (1989). "I materiali da costruzione nel castello medievale". Archeologia Medievale (XVI): 227–242.
  • Luisi, R. (1996). Scudi di pietra, I castelli e l’arte della guerra tra Medioevo e Rinascimento. Bari. ISBN 88-420-5083-0.
Arroyo Grande IOOF Hall

The Arroyo Grande IOOF Hall is a building in Arroyo Grande, California, that was built in 1902. The building housed the town's chapter of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, which was established in 1887. The order planned a two-story building with a storefront on the first floor; the building is one of the tallest in downtown Arroyo Grande. The sandstone building was designed in the Romanesque style and features segmentally arched windows and doors and a crenellated parapet with a large merlon in the center. In 1985, the Odd Fellows lodge disbanded, and the building is now owned by the South County Historical Society. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1991.

Awallamaya Lake

Awallamaya (Aymara awalla the first one of two newborn girls, maya one, amaya merlon / dead boy / beloved or very dear son or daughter / lazy / dead / skinny or weak person, hispanicized spelling Aguallamaya) is a lake in Bolivia located in the La Paz Department, Ingavi Province, Jesús de Machaca Municipality, near the village Awallamaya. Its surface area is 96 km².


A battlement in defensive architecture, such as that of city walls or castles, comprises a parapet (i.e., a defensive low wall between chest-height and head-height), in which gaps or indentations, which are often rectangular, occur at intervals to allow for the launch of arrows or other projectiles from within the defences. These gaps are termed "crenels" (also known as carnels, or embrasures), and the act of adding crenels to a previously unbroken parapet is termed crenellation. A defensive building might be designed and built with battlements, or a manor house might be fortified by adding battlements, where no parapet previously existed, or cutting crenellations into its existing parapet wall. The solid widths between the crenels are called merlons. A wall with battlements is said to be crenelated or embattled. Battlements on walls have protected walkways (chemin de ronde) behind them. On tower or building tops, the (often flat) roof is used as the protected fighting platform.

Bunster Range

The Bunster Range are a small mountain range in southwestern British Columbia, Canada, located west of Powell Lake. It has an area of 290 km2 and is a subrange of the Pacific Ranges which in turn form part of the Coast Mountains.

Diamond Glacier (British Columbia)

Diamond Glacier is a glacier in the Garibaldi Ranges of the Pacific Ranges in southwestern British Columbia, Canada. It lies on the Mount Garibaldi massif between Atwell Peak and Diamond Head.

Hazira Maqbara

The mausoleum known as Hazira at Vadodara, Gujarat, India; contains the tombs of Qutb-ud-din Muhammad Khan who was the tutor of Salim, son and successor of Akbar, and also that of his son Naurang Khan who held important offices in Gujarat under Akbar. Qutb-ud-din was uncle of Mirza Aziz Koka, a foster brother of Akbar and the Governor of Gujarat thrice in between 1573 AD to 1583 AD. He was killed in 1583 by Muzaffar Shah III, the last sultan of Gujarat Sultanate.Built on high octagonal platform with smaller gates on the cardinal directions and five arches on each side. It is in the style of Mughal tombs at Delhi. The real grave is in an underground chamber and the false grave in the tomb chamber. The Quranic texts in Arabic are carved, inside tomb chamber, on lintels, arches and also above Jali work on eastern side walls. The extant parapet wall on the roof terrace is embellished with Merlon designs in brick red color evident from the traces. The lower portion of cylindrical dome surrounding the tomb was covered with thick plaster of brick red color.The mausoleum has a double dome and seems to have been a garden tomb and vav or stepwell to its across west the modern road was perhaps used for supplying the water to the garden.

Merlon Mountain

Merlon Mountain is a mountain in the Waddington Range of southwestern British Columbia, Canada.

Mount Kinch

Mount Kinch is a volcanic knob in southwestern British Columbia, Canada, located 79 km (49 mi) east of Rivers Inlet. It is almost completely ice-covered.

Mount Overill

Mount Overill is a volcanic peak in southwestern British Columbia, Canada, located 81 km (50 mi) east of Rivers Inlet and 2 km (1 mi) northwest of Mount Somolenko.

Paper Mario

Paper Mario is a role-playing video game developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 home video game console. It was first released in Japan in 2000 and in the rest of the world in 2001. Paper Mario was re-released for Nintendo's Wii Virtual Console in July 2007 as well as Wii U Virtual Console in 2015.

Paper Mario is set in the Mushroom Kingdom as the protagonist Mario tries to rescue Princess Peach from Bowser, who has imprisoned the seven "Star Spirits", lifted her castle into the sky and has successfully defeated his foe after stealing the Star Rod from Star Haven and making himself invulnerable to any attacks. To save Mushroom Kingdom, rescue Peach, get the castle back, and defeat Bowser, Mario must locate the Star Spirits, who can negate the effects of the stolen Star Rod, by defeating Bowser's minions guarding the star spirits. The player controls Mario and a number of partners to solve puzzles in the game's overworld and defeat enemies in a turn-based battle system. The battles are unique in that the player can influence the effectiveness of attacks by performing required controller inputs known as "action commands".

Paper Mario is the second Mario role-playing game to be released (following Super Mario RPG) and is the first installment for the Paper Mario series. Paper Mario is the predecessor to the GameCube game Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, the Wii game Super Paper Mario, the 3DS game Paper Mario: Sticker Star and the Wii U game Paper Mario: Color Splash. The game received critical acclaim upon release, attaining an aggregate score of 88% from GameRankings and 93% from Metacritic. It was rated the 63rd best game made on a Nintendo system in Nintendo Power's "Top 200 Games" list in 2006.

Pashleth Glacier

The Pashleth Glacier is a glacier south of the Machmell River and west of the Klinaklini Glacier in southwestern British Columbia, Canada.

Pembroke Range

The Pembroke Range is a small mountain range in southwestern British Columbia, Canada, located between Loughborough Inlet and Phillips Arm. It has an area of 75 km2 and is a subrange of the Pacific Ranges which in turn form part of the Coast Mountains.

Silverthrone Glacier

The Silverthrone Glacier is a glacier at the northwest head of Knight Inlet in southwestern British Columbia, Canada.

Stein Mountain

Stein Mountain, elev. 2761 m (9058 feet), is a mountain in the Lillooet Ranges of southwestern British Columbia, Canada, located northwest of the confluence of the Stein and Fraser Rivers, which is just upstream from the town of Lytton. Its name derives from that of the Stein River.

Sultan's Palace, Zanzibar

The Sultan's Palace (Arabic: بيت الساحل), Bait As-Sahel was destroyed in the Anglo Zanzibar war of 1896, is one of the main historical buildings of Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania. It is a 3-story building with merlon-decorated white walls, located in Mizingani Road, on the seafront, between the House of Wonders and the Old Dispensary.

The palace was built in late 19th century to serve as a residence for the Sultan's family. After the Zanzibar Revolution, in 1964 it was formally renamed to People's Palace and used as a government seat. In 1994, it became a museum about the Zanzibari royal family and history.One floor of the museum is dedicated to Sultan Khalifa bin Harub; another one to Sayyida Salme, best known as Emily Ruete, former Zanzibari princess who fled from the sultanate to relocate in Europe with her husband; the exhibits include some of her writings, clothes and daily life accessories. Several of the furniture items and other belongings to the sultan's family are in exhibition to give visitors an idea of how was the life in Zanzibar during the 19th century.

Super Paper Mario

Super Paper Mario (Japanese: スーパーペーパーマリオ, Hepburn: Sūpā Pēpā Mario) is a 2007 side-scrolling, platforming, action role-playing video game developed by Intelligent Systems and published by Nintendo for the Wii home video game console. It is the third game in the Paper Mario series. The game followed 2004 Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door and was followed by Paper Mario: Sticker Star in 2012.

The game departs from the gameplay featured in earlier Paper Mario titles, primarily featuring side-scrolling platforming gameplay with role-playing elements. The player controls Mario and later Princess Peach, Bowser and Luigi, who each possess different abilities. Most of the gameplay revolves around Mario's ability to "flip" between dimensions, allowing him to switch between 3D and 2D perspectives in each level and maneuver around normally impassable obstacles. The plot follows the four characters' quest to collect eight Pure Hearts in order to prevent Count Bleck, the main antagonist, from destroying the universe.

The game was well-received, accumulating aggregate critical scores of 85.16% and 85% on GameRankings and Metacritic with many critics praising the game's humorous plot and writing. As of March 2008, it has sold 2.28 million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling games on the Wii. In 2011, the game was re-released as part of the Nintendo Selects program in North America, and in Europe the following year in 2012. The game was released on the North American Wii U Virtual Console on June 16, 2016.

Vittorio Merloni

Vittorio Merloni (30 April 1933 – 18 June 2016) was an Italian entrepreneur and industrialist. He was the honorary chairman of Indesit (chaired by his son Andrea Merlon) and Fineldo (chaired by his daughter Antonella), the family holding company that controls Indesit and other group interests.

Wharncliffe Range

The Wharncliffe Range is a very small mountain range in the Pacific Ranges of the southern Coast Mountains in southwestern British Columbia, Canada, located on the north side of Forward Harbour.

Whitemantle Range

The Whitemantle Range is a subrange of the Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains in British Columbia. Located between the heads of Bute Inlet on the east and Knight Inlet on the west, it is extremely rugged and glaciated. Its highest summit is Whitemantle Mountain 2985 m (9793 ft).

The range is approximately 3400 km2 (1310 sq mi) in area and just south of the much higher and even more rugged Waddington Range, which is the highest part of the Pacific Ranges and also of the Coast Mountains. East across the canyon-valley of the Homathko River is the Homathko Icefield.

By topography
By role
By design

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