The journey of an ottoman princeL
Within the walls of the former Commandery of the Hospitable Kngihts of Saint Jean of Jerusalem, founded in the 12th century, a tower stands out from other buildings.
Its history is unique: it was built at the end of the 15th century, not to protect the city but to welcome an extraordinary prisoner, Djem! This man, son of Emperor Mehmet II, was nicknamed Zizim. This big tower is named after the Ottoman prince!
The construction is massive to impress but nevertheless elegant. It includes 7 levels, two of which were reserved for the prince’s apartments. The equipment was unusual for the time: latrines and fireplaces on each floor, a cellar with a central well and a superb oak frame under the roof.
To climb one by one the 99 steps leading from the entrance to the roof is to follow in Zizim’s footsteps, to discover his extraordinary adventure, to imagine life in this prison tower, but also a more recent part of the tower’s story. After Djem’s passing through Bourganeuf, the tower was used as a harvest reserve, rooms for the hospitable brothers and even as a prison for 62 resistant’s arrested at Saint Dizier Leyrenne in 1944.