In architecture, a turret (from Italian: torretta, little tower; Latin: turris, tower) is a small tower that projects vertically from the wall of a building such as a medieval castle. Turrets were used to provide a projecting defensive position allowing covering fire to the adjacent wall in the days of military fortification. As their military use faded, turrets were used for decorative purposes, as in the Scottish baronial style.

A turret can have a circular top with crenelations as seen in the picture at right, a pointed roof, or other kind of apex. It might contain a staircase if it projects higher than the building; however, a turret is not necessarily higher than the rest of the building; in this case, it is typically part of a room, that can be simply walked into – see the turret of Chateau de Chaumont on the collection of turrets,[1] which also illustrates a turret on a modern skyscraper.

A building may have both towers and turrets; turrets might be smaller or higher but turrets instead project from the edger of a building rather than continue to the ground. The size of a turret is therefore limited, since it puts additional stresses on the structure of the building. Turrets were traditionally supported by a corbel.

Starting with ships such as USS Monitor and continuing into the present day, a turret was a round chamber situated either on the deck or on another level, that turned about and usually contained ranged weaponry. Jet fighters and helicopters may also have turrets, also Lancaster bombers and B17's.

Turret (architecture) 1
Turret (highlighted) attached to a tower on a baronial building in Scotland


Newark Castle turrets

Corbelled corner turrets at Newark Castle, Port Glasgow

Balhousie Castle (3) - geograph.org.uk - 548503

The turrets of Balhousie Castle in Perth, Scotland


Turret of the old fort guarding Havana harbour, Cuba

New Terrace

A turret on a building in Denver, Colorado

Het Schip 01

Turret at the Het Schip housing in the Amsterdam School style


Copper Turrets silver turrets

Tour de Belem detail 1 082006

Bastion terrace on Belém Tower with its Moorish bartizan turrets and cupolas from the north-west

See also

  • Bartizan, an overhanging, wall-mounted turret found particularly on French and Spanish fortifications between the early 14th and the 16th century. They returned to prominence in the 19th century with their popularity in Scottish baronial style.
  • Bay window
  • Oriel window


  1. ^ Ontarioarchitecture.com

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