Castles, as we know, were homes of Prince and Princess, of Kings and Queens in many fairy tales. They are located in a far away magical land of Sleeping Beauty or Snow White. They are huge, massive structures which show the architectural brilliance. But these castles are not only present in the fairy world but can be seen in the real world as well.
Castles were built during the middle ages in Europe and the Middle East. Castles, unlike palaces, were basically fortified structures, meaning they were designed for military and warfare. Castles provided a base for protection of people against the enemies.
Here’s a list of 10 best Castles in the World
1. The Potala Palace
It is one of the greatest monumental structures in Tibet. 13,00 years old, this 17th century castle was built by Emperor Songtsen Gampo. It is located on the Marpo Ri Hill, 130 meters above the Lhasa Valley. The construction of the entire structure began during the reign of the fifth Dalai Lama. It has 1000 rooms and was previously a monastery but later became the seat of the Tibetan Government and also the winter home of the Dalai Lama.
2. Castillo de Coca
This is one of the most beautiful castles around the world. It was the birthplace of the Roman Emperor Theodosius. Set in the city of Coca, this beautiful castle is well known for its western and Moorish military architecture. Entirely made of brick with the color of sand, the walls are lavishly decorated. Currently the castle serves as a training school.
3. Neuschwanstein Castle
This is a fairytale castle built for Louis II of Bavaria, Germany. It is a spectacular castle, seen mostly in fairy tales, with huge towers and spires. It is the only castle built in the medieval period which had modern amenities like running water on all floors, a heating system for the entire castle and even an automatic flush for the toilets in every room. The sleeping beauty castle in Disneyland is a replica of the Neuschwanstein castle.
4. Hunyad Castle
This castle in Romania is famous for keeping Dracula as a prisoner for seven long years. Vlad III was commonly known as the Dracula around 1460’s and was held prisoner by John Hunyadi of the Hunyadi dynasty. The building is large with tall, dark colored roofs and towers, while the walls are decorated with stone carvings. The castle is famous for its 30 meters deep well dug by Turkish prisoners. The castle is now a museum telling us about medieval life and architecture.
5. Alnwick Castle
Remember the Hogwarts scenes in the Harry Potter series? This was the castle where the film scenes were shot and it has become immensely famous since then with more than 800,000 visitors per year! It is located in the town of Northumberland, UK. It was built in 1096 with beautiful Gothic architecture for the Duke of Northumberland. Even today the current Duke and family stay in a part of the castle, while the rest of the castle is open to tourists during summers.
6. Windsor Castle
The Windsor castle in England is one of the most famous castles. It has its association with the British Royal Family. Built in the 11th century, this magnificent structure has since then been the longest occupied castle in the World. The castle survived the English Civil War and also served as a prison for Charles I. During the bombings of the Second World War, Windsor castle served as a place of refuge for the Royal Family. It is now the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II who spends many weekends here and is also a tourist spot in England.
7. Edinburgh Castle
Built on the remains of an extinct castle, this castle is located in Scotland. The huge castle dominates a large part of the city of Scotland. It is situated on an extinct volcanic cliff. The first castle was built here around 11th century A.D. The castle continued to be a residence till 1603. From then onwards it was used for war purpose. Wars of Scottish Independence were a large part of the castle. The castle now is part of Historic Scotland and a tourist destination.
8. Himeji Castle
This is Japan’s most beautiful castles. It is one of the few structures in Japan that was able to survive the devastation caused by bombings, earth quakes and the civil war. The beautiful castle is known for its brilliant white exterior. Its structure goes back to 1333 when a fort was built on top of the hill top. It was later dismantled and then rebuilt in 1346 and again remodeled after two centuries. In 1993 the castle was registered as the first UNESCO world heritage sites.
9. Mehrangarh Fort
The fort of Mehrangarh stands out among all forts and castles in India. Situated in the city of Jodhpur, this fort is the largest in India and is situated 400 feet above the city. The thick boundary walls cover the several palaces situated inside, with elaborate carvings and large courtyards. The fort also holds a museum stocked with royal selections. The fort was originally started by Rao Jodha in 1459 but inside the fort the carvings date back to the period of Jaswant Singh from 1638-78.
10. Malbork Castle
This is the largest castle in the world. It is also the largest brick building in Europe. It is located in Poland and was founded in 1274 by the Teutonic Knights. It was built as a fortress to defeat the Polish enemies. As the number of Knights increased, the castle grew in size. The castle was declared as the World Heritage Site in December 1997 by UNESCO.
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