Top 10 Medieval Castles

Have a look at these amazing medieval castles.

Top 10 Medieval Castles

Many of the medieval castles throughout the world have survived centuries of war,
natural disasters, and erosion to provide unique glimpses into the past and offer history lessons that ooze from their walls and grounds. Each castle holds unique features and attractions that draw visitors from around the world to experience what it must have been like to live during these perilous, yet romantic times.Whether perched on top of a mountain, within thick, dense forests or sitting in the middle of a lake, medieval castles that were built as fortresses and last line of defenses against invasion left behind spectacular relics that have somehow survived through the years. These architectural and design wonders of the world were created to be both functional and befitting of the aristocrats and royalty that used these structures as an escape or refuge from their enemies. Some of the following top 10 medieval castles listed are recognized worldwide as iconic representations of the Dark Ages, though others are hidden away in secluded spots that take extra effort to get to. All of them are dramatic, physical evidence of times and eras gone by, and hold within them the mystery, secrets, and wonder that makes the Middle Ages such a compelling period to study and enjoy.

1.Eltz Castle, Germany

Perched atop a hill in the middle of a dense forest in Rheinland-Palatine, Eltz Castle is still owned by descendants of the same family that resided there back in the 12thcentury. Once a small manor in the 9th century, this medieval castle has somehow avoided destruction from war throughout the centuries.Today, Eltz Castle’s majestic and fairy tale ambiance is a major tourist draw. The surreal exterior has become a popular spot for photos that are plastered all over social media, as well as professional landscape photographers looking to capture eerie images at various parts of the day and night. Over the years, Eltz Castle has been visited by several different German presidents, French writer Victor Hugo, and former U.S. first ladies Rosalyn Carter and Ladybird Johnson.

2. Kilkenny Castle, Ireland

Initially a wooden fort in the 12th century, Kilkenny Castle went through many changes and renovations throughout the years, combining various architectural design styles. The first stone castle was completed in 1213, with three of the four original towers still standing. James Butler, the Third Earl of Ormond, bought the castle in 1391, and the Butler family inhabited it for almost six centuries, playing host to many English kings, including Richard II, who lived there for a time in the 1930s.The castle was sold to the citizenry of Kilkenny in 1967 and opened up to the public in 1976. Today, visitors can explore restored rooms as they looked so many years ago, and take leisurely strolls through beautifully manicured gardens while viewing the exterior of what many say is the most beautiful castle in all of Ireland.

3. Mont-Saint-Michel, France

The medieval monastery at Mont-Saint-Michel Bay has been attracting pilgrims for centuries, and legend has it that bishop Aubert was ordered by Archangel Michael to build the church at the top of this spectacular and magical island. Abby construction started late in the 10th century.While Mont-Saint-Michel is not technically classified as a castle, it provides the history, charm, mystery, and magnificence that all medieval castles possess. The changing of tides offers different and more beautiful views throughout the day. At low tide, visitors can walk to the island to visit museums, a church, and the abbey, which are all open to the public

4. Castel del Monte, Italy

Among the most visited monuments in all of Italy, Castel del Monte is not a typical medieval castle with spires, towers, and moat. Built by Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century in the Apulia region of Italy on a 540-meter hill, this citadel features an eclectic architectural mix of Islamic Orient and north European Cistercian Gothic.Mystery still surrounds the reason why the castle was built in the first place. It is not located near a town or important crossroads and was not built as a defense fort. At various times, Castel del Monte was used as a prison and to host large events like the wedding of Frederick’s daughter. Sitting on a rocky peak in the middle of a secluded forest, theoctagon-shaped fortress has undergone very little changes through the years.

5. Alhambra, Spain

Built atop Roman fortification ruins, Alhambra has a rich history and provides spectacular panoramic views of the Spanish countryside. Constructed in the 13thcentury by Nasrid emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar of Granada, Alhambra was a royal palace for many years before being transformed into the Royal Court of Ferdinand and Isabella. It is said that Christopher Columbus received an endorsement for his expedition tothe new world here.
Featuring architectural elements from the Moors common of the final Muslim dynasty in the region, visitors today can tour the Royal complex, Court of the Myrtles, a Court of the Lions, and a remarkable centuries-old fountain. Alhambra is bordered by River Darro to the north, the valley of al-Sabika to the south, and Cuesta del Rey Chico on its eastern side

6. Doorwerth Castle, Netherlands

This charming small castle on the River Rhine was likely first made of wood late in the 13th century and then rebuilt with stone sometime later. Throughout the 14th century, the castle was expanded, reaching its largest state under Daem Schellart van Obbendorf in the 16th century. A long restoration project began after World War II and was not completed until 1983.The castle grounds feature some of the oldest trees in the Netherlands, including an acacia tree that was planted around 1600. Though it is surrounded by a traditional moat, Doorwerth is very inviting, with a quaint, delightful look and feel that echo the demeanor of its nation’s people. The charming and delightful Doorwerth Castle features three museums and a grand hall that is rented out for receptions and events of all kinds.

7. Trakai Island Castle, Lithuania

Sitting on Lake Galve in Lithuania, construction of Trakai Island Castle was completed early in the 15th century. The brick castle lost its military significance after the Lithuanian-Polish army defeated the Grand Duchy in the Battle of Grunwald in 1410.Trakai Island Castle served as a prison until suffering major damage and falling into disrepair in the 17th century. In the late 1960s, the castle was renovated and reconstructed in its original style. Today, the castle houses an impressive museum featuring Lithuanian history and hosts major cultural and entertainment events

8. Bojnice Castle, Slovakia

Among the most popular attractions in Slovakia, Bojnice Castle is a magical castle that looks like it was lifted right out of a fairy tale. Constructed in the 12th century, Matthew II Csak first receivedBojnice Castle in 1302 from King Ladislaus V of Hungary. The grounds were restored in the 19the century.The breathtaking park that surrounds the castle is as much of a draw to visitors and locals as the castle itself, which hosts art and history museums.Bojnice Castle plays host to the International Festival of Ghosts and Spooks each spring. While Disney’s iconic Sleeping Beauty castle is said to be modeled after Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, the resemblance to Bojnice Castle is uncanny.

9. Corvin Castle, Romania

Sitting in the heart of Transylvania that is world-renowned for its midlevel castles, Corvin Castle is a classic example of the lore and lure of the Dracula stories. Built at the end of the Middle Ages, Corvin Castle is one of the largest and most beautiful castles in Europe, designed in a Gothic-Renaissance architectural style.Serving as a fortress until the middle of the 14th century, it became the primary resident of Transylvania’s military commander, Iancu de Hunedoara. The imposing Buzdagan Tower is one of several that surround the castle. Featuring a spectacular inner courtyard and rows of windows and balconies adorned with opulent stone carvings.

10. Hluboká Castle, Czech

RepublicHluboká Castle has been rebuilt several different times since it was originally built late in the 13th century. The castle as expanded during the Renaissance and then rebuilt as a Baroque castle at the beginning of the 18th century. Finally, in the 19th century, it was once again reconstructed on the orders of Johann Adolf II von Schwarzenberg, this time in the style of England’s famous Windsor Castle.During World War II, the castle was seized by the Nazis and taken by the government of Czechoslovakia after the war. The castle is open to the public and features a breathtaking winter garden. Hluboká Castle was featured in the movies “Shanghai Knights” in2003 and “Underworld: Blood Wars” in 2016.

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