When you heard the word Castles you think of the mysterious location and historic old monument located somewhere in the forest area. But in an actual case Castles are beautiful monuments which remind us of the important historical events and personalities of different eras. Most of the castles were built in crucial and breathtaking locations such as at the mouth of the valley, at the mountain passes, or on glittering shores of the lakes.
Nowadays people are visiting these castles and thus they become attractive tourist destinations. With more than 25,000 castles, Germany is on the top of the list but there are many other locations too which you can visit.
So for you, I have listed some of the breathtaking Castles from the medieval era. Take a look –
1. Chateau de Chambord – France
Chateau de Chambord is the most interesting building of French Renaissance architecture with 440 rooms, 282 fireplaces, 84 staircases and a beautiful canal. As a weekend retreat for hunting in 1519, King Francios I started to build the Grand Chateau in the Loire Valley. It has been said that Francois was amazed at Leonardo da Vinci’s work and thus insisted that elements of the castle were inspired by his Italian polymath.
For many years castle served as a symbol of the power and eternal influence of the French monarchy. Throughout the year, the Château de Chambord holds many activities for tourists to explore the past of the Renaissance masterpiece and also transforms itself with thousands of lights during the holiday season.
2. Prague Castle – Prague
Prague Castle is renowned as the largest ancient castle in all over the world and most popular tourist attraction in Prague. It is located at Hradcany and it is the official residence of the Czech Republic president.
Inside the castle premises, there are several Prague’s most popular tourist sites such as St. Vitus Cathedral, St. George’s Basilica, Old Royal Palace, the Powder Tower, and the Golden Lane. The main highlights of Prague Castle include the main hall of Old Royal Palace, the Vladislav Hall, Royal Garden, the Ball Game Pavilion, the Royal Summer House with its Singing Fountain, and the Lion’s Court. You can also join the classical music concert and workshops held at Prague castle.
Also Read: Prague – Architectural Beauty of Europe
3. Castel del Monte – Italy
Castel del Monte in Southern Italy certainly stands out from all the medieval castles in the world. The reason behind this unique masterpiece of the medieval era is that the citadel layout consists of an octagonal base and tower at each corner and eight trapezoidal rooms within it which feature elements from classical antiquity, the Islamic Orient and north European Cistercian Gothic.
In 13 Century castle was erected by Emperor Frederick II in the region of Apulia, a remote area of Southern Italy. The castle sits on a rocky peak in a hidden forest, and no major structural improvements have occurred to the structure. The emperor soon abandoned the castle after completion, leaving several doubts about his actions. This octagonal castle has become one of the most visited landmarks in southern Italy and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
4. Bran Castle – Romania
Whenever someone hears Bran Castle, they instantly recall Dracula and Transylvania. This mysterious yet beautiful castle sits on top of an early 13th-century fortress of the Teutonic Knights. The castle is roughly 2500 feet above the level of the sea and rises between the surrounding trees. It overlooks the village of Bran, and it has a mysterious atmosphere with its many towers and turret.
Tourists may now visit the castle and walk through the narrow steps to 60 wooden rooms. The castle is now a museum open to visitors, displaying paintings and furniture collected by Queen Marie of Romania, who named the castle between 1920 and 1957 as a royal residence. A small open-air museum park at the bottom of the hill exhibits traditional Romanian peasant structures from across the region.
5. Frederiksborg Castle – Denmark
The respected Frederiksborg Castle was built on three small islands on Castle Lake as a sign of the strength of King Christian IV to rule Denmark and Norway. For more than 100 years, the Renaissance castle was the official royal residence, until its original construction was demolished in a fire in 1859.
The castle was restored by raising funds from across the country. Frederiksborg later reopened it as National History Museum in 1878. Today the world-renowned museum illustrates Denmark’s history through its impressive portrait collection, historical paintings, and castle interiors.
6. Neuschwanstein Castle – Germany
The world-famous Castle Neuschwanstein is the Romanesque palace of the 19th century which is set on a cliff with picturesque mountain scenery. This castle was designed for King Ludwig II near Fussen, south-west Bavaria. Bavarian King Ludwig II established Castle Neuschwanstein to avoid the public eye and political turmoil in 1868.
After Prussia invaded Austria and Bavaria during the Austro-Prussian War, Ludwig was practically deprived of his powers but was still trying for his own empire to rule. Although Neuschwanstein castle was never seen in his finished state by Ludwig, it later opened to the public in 1886 and remains one of the most famous in all of Europe.
7. Himeji Castle – Japan
Himeji Castle is one of the most spectacular and beautiful castles in the world and in Japan. It is one of the few remaining intact medieval castles in Japan and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well as a National Treasure for the country.
This white castle is elegant, majestic and at the same time conveys an incredible sensation of deliciousness. Castle Himeji is a monument worth seeing, particularly if you’re travelling to Japan.
8. Pena National Palace – Portugal
Pena National Palace is the eccentric and colourful showpiece of the Romanticism of the 19th century in Portugal. The design of this castle is influenced by Baroque styles from the Middle East and Europe. The castle of King Ferdinand II is a summer residence of the Portuguese royal family on a hill in Sintra Mountains.
A red clock tower, a renovated monastery, and a yellow New Palace are marked by its bright shade on the centre. The castle was eventually considered as UNESCO World Heritage Site in the 20th century after many years of renovation. You can hike up the lush hilly landscape of the castle to explore the different architectural styles.
9. Mont Saint Michel – France
Mont Saint Michel near Normandy is one of medieval architecture and the most magical destination for the traveller visiting France. The magnificent castle is located where the Normandy and Brittany coincide each other making it unique and special in the world. This castle is the medieval Benedictine monastery which has attracted explorers for centuries.
It is also listed into UNESCO world heritage site. This castle is situated on a magical island encircled by a lofty medieval cathedral, sensational in the horizon and standing tall against highest tides of Europe. It was for centuries one of Europe’s major pilgrimage destinations.
10. Edinburgh Castle – Scotland
Edinburgh Castle is a world-famous landmark of Scotland and part of the World Heritage Site for the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh. Edinburgh Castle is a historic fortress that dominates Edinburgh City’s skyline from its Castle Rock position. Edinburgh Castle in Scotland has stood the test of time through invasions, civil wars, political infighting and mass crimes.
It was built in the 12th-century by James IV and later around 1510, the Great Hall of the castle was built. The castle contains the Scottish Crown Jewels, Stone of Destiny, Mons Meg, the famous arms of the 15th century, The O’Clock Gun, and the Scottish National War Museum. The visit to this castle is must when you on a trip to Scotland.
11. Windsor Castle – England
Windsor Castle is one of the most well-known castles in England, which has been the home of British royalty for centuries in Berkshire. The castle also consists of the Queen Victoria statue. This castle is about 900 years old and is the world’s largest occupied castle and most ancient royal residence. The castle is surrounded by 13 hectares of land and has a facade, a palace and a small town.
Today the castle has a Georgian and Victorian design based on a gothic structure. This is said that the castle features stunning paintings and renowned artworks inside it. Being one of the Queen’s three official residences, it is still fully operational and thus its is not open for tourists. Special Grant is required to visit this castle
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