Top 15 Castles From Around The World

Top 15 Castles From Around The World
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The Oxford English Dictionary defines a ‘castle’ as ‘a large building, typically of the medieval period, fortified against attack with thick walls, battlements, towers, and often a moat.’ So know we know exactly one is, what say we run through the very best castles out there on Earth? There are plenty out there, after all. The dinky little country of Wales in the United Kingdom has over six hundred alone. So in the world? A crazy amount! So to get that number down to a mere fifteen? It’s no mean feat. But we’ve managed it. So sit back and enjoy this rundown of the world’s finest castles…

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Castle Hohenschwangau – Located in the German village of Hohenschwangau, which is near the town of Füssen – part of the county of Ostallgäu in southwest Bavaria, the area is very close to the border with neighboring Austria. It’s an area famed for its natural beauty. So where better to place one of the planet’s finest castles? Nowhere, that’s where. Home to King Ludwig II of Bavaria, Hohenschwangau was built by Ludwig’s father, King Maximilian II of Bavaria. As you can imagine, this majestic building is a source of huge national pride.

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The Castle of the Teutonic in Malbork – This Polish monster of a castle is the biggest one in the world. By far. It’s one of the most elaborate examples of Gothic architecture you’ll ever seen. But as grand and decorative as it is, you just can’t get away from its sheer scale. All we can think about is the amazing size. With an area of 143,591 square meters, there’s no way we could even dream of leaving this beast of a castle out of our list of the top 15 from across the world.

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Neuschwanstein Castle –  Commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as a dedication to Richard Wagner, this German castle isn’t all that far away from the first castle on our list, Castle Hohenschwangau. The castle’s had almost 65 million visitors to date. But the most famous thing about this place? It’s the Disney castle! Remember it from the movie Sleeping Beauty? Yep – that’s it! This was the blueprint.

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Osaka Castle – Found in Chūō-ku, Osaka, this building is one of Japan’s most famous landmarks. It has featured in the country’s historical past heavily and played an important role in the their unification way back in the sixteenth century. Osaka Castle also pitches up in quite a few pieces of modern culture. Such as in the 1955 Toho tokusatsu film Godzilla Raids Again, where it – unsurprisingly – gets destroyed.

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Peles Castle – Constructed by Charles I, this Neo Renaissance castle can be found in the ancient Carpathian Mountains, which are near Sinaia, in Prahova County, Romania. The area links the infamous Transylvania regions and Wallachia, so you can imagine a castle like this playing host to a Count Dracula-type resident. Built between 1873 and 1914, you wouldn’t want to knock on the front door of this castle in the middle of the night!

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Magic Kingdom – You might scoff at the idea of Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle being considered, but hey – why not? There’s little point being snobby about it, there are no real hard and fast rules about what technically makes a castle, anyway (well, okay – there is. But still…). So we’re counting this! Inspired by Chambord, Chaumont, Castle Neuschwanstein, Fontainebleau, Versailles, Chenonceau, Pierrefonds, Alcázar of Segovia Castle in Segovia and the Moszna Castle in Poland, it’s an amalgamation of the world’s best and coolest castles.

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Alnwick Castle – In the English county of Northumberland, this beatific Medieval castle is one of the finest in the entire United Kingdom. So ornate and classic is it in fact that it’s been used as a location for filming all sorts of television shows and movies. You might have seen Alnwick Castle in Blackadder, Ivanhoe, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and even a couple of Harry Potter flicks.

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Highclere Castle – While we’re on the subject of lovely old English castles which serve as settings for wildly successful TV shows, here’s Highclere Castle. Found five miles away from the Berkshire town of Newbury, you recognize this place, don’t you? Sure you do… It’s from Downton Abbey! Its interiors were also used for Stanley Kubrick’s racy final film, Eyes Wide Shut. And if you haven’t seen those, maybe you’ll know it from the notably more lowbrow (but funnier) King Ralph.

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Mont Saint-Michel – Easily one of the prettiest castles on our list here,  Mont Saint-Michel and its own little private bay are are a certified part of the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. More than three million people visit this castle each year. It’s in Normandy and formed such a steely defense against the English that it was one of the few castles to remain unconquered during the Hundred Years War.

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Windsor Castle – Home, of course, to the Queen of England, Elizabeth II – Windsor is one Helluva castle! Built by William the Conqueror way back in the eleventh century (after the Norman invasion). It’s always been the home of the incumbent monarchy. Of course, not the only home, but Windsor is where QE2 feels most at home. Maybe because of its proximity to Windsor race course. Ol’ Queenie loves the horses!

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Kilkenny Castle – The only Irish castle on our list, unusually, this is owned by the people of the town. Kilkenny had to pay just £50 for the castle to the Butler family for it back in 1967. Construction started way, way, way back in 1195. And was finished way, way, way back in 1213. Kilkenny Castle may not be the most attractive building on this list, but it’s certainly one of the most historic and atmospheric.

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Schloss Moritzburg – A wonderfully ornate Baroque castle in the German state of Saxony, Schloss can be found in the town of Moritzburg. It was built in the sixteenth century and has always been a hunting lodge. Owners and proprietors have always hunted in the surrounding woodland areas. Inside, its collection of deer antlers on the wall is the world’s largest, coming in at an impressive 71 pieces.

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Prague Castle – The official residence of the President of the Czech Republic, Prague Castle was built back in the ninth century. At 70,000 square meters, it’s a record holder, having the distinction of being the world’s biggest ancient castle. When Hitler took Czechoslovakia during World War Two he handed the castle to one of his officers, Reinhard Heydrich. Heydrich instantly took to wearing the castle’s crown and jewels. Despite the old legend that said that anyone wearing it ‘illegally’ would die within a year. And guess what? Yep – Reinhard got his from an Allied soldier some eleven months later…

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Catherine Castle – Located 25 kilometers south of the city of St. Petersburg, Catherine Castle or Palace used to be a summer residence for Russian Tsars. It’s a stunning looking place, we’re sure you’d agree. Strangely for a former Communist state, Russia sure know how to create elaborate and decorative castles and buildings, don’t they? And there are none so beautiful as Catherine Palace.

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www.boldtcastle.com

Boldt Castle –  This castle can be found on Heart Island in the Thousand Islands of the Saint Lawrence River, which along the northern border of the U.S. state of New York – in Jefferson County. It was built by George C. Boldt, the multimillionaire owner of the world famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. Hence the name. As it’s an American castle, it’s not as old as some on this list, but it’s still an absolute beauty.