Whenever we hear the word ‘castle’, a large structure with great walls comes to our mind. Particularly, if you are a fan of the ‘Game of Thrones’ series, you might visualize the boisterous castles of Westeros, Bravos, and all around the mythical land, being guarded by armored soldiers. From ‘Dragon Heart’ to ‘Resident Evil’, many historical movies and games have their stories begin and end in castles.
Basically, a castle is a private, fortified residence of the nobles. However, the scope of the castle is highly contested. But contests aside, if you ever wonder visiting the world’s best castles, here is the list of the ‘Top Ten Best Castles in The World’.
1. Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle is situated in Edinburgh, Scotland. The name Edinburgh is derived from ‘Din Eidyn’, which basically means ‘the fortress of Eidyn’. It was built in the extinct volcanic crag.
Many buildings in the castle can be dated back to the 16th century. Margaret’s Chapel, the oldest surviving building of Edinburgh, which can be dated to the 12th century is also located here. It covers an area of 35737 square meters. In present day, it is a tourist center and one can take a guided tour of the castle.
2. Citadel of Aleppo
Citadel of Aleppo is one of the oldest castles of the world. It covers an area of 39804 square meters. It is situated on 50 meters high hill in center of Aleppo in Syria. It is found that the hill has been in use since the middle of the 3rd millennium for various purposes.
The majority of its construction was completed in the 13th century. It has stood on the crusader era fortification and has served as stronghold for crusaders. Various civilizations including the Greek, and the Byzantine had occupied this partly conserved fortress. It spreads on 39804 square meters area.
3. Trim Castle
Trim Castle is located in Trim County on the southern bank of the River Boyne in Ireland. It was built in the 12th century during Norman rule by Hugh de Lacy and is one of the largest among Norman castles, which is spread over area of 30,000 square meters.
The castle was built in three stages, the later 2 of which were done by Walter de Lacy during his time. It was used as the administrative center of Norman administration for the Lordship of Meath. The castle is also referred in “Song of Dermot and the Earl”.
In present day, you can access the castle with a small admittance fee. Ireland is the perfect place for castle tours as there are many outstanding castles in Ireland which are sure to leave one awestruck.
4. Himeji Castle
Himeji Castle is one of the most beautiful castles of Japan, situated in the Himeji, Hyogo prefecture of Japan. It is a sample of prototypical oriental castle architecture which was built in the 14th century and expanded throughout the century.
The construction was completed in 1609 A.D. Since then, it has survived many civil wars, bombings and earthquakes. It occupies 41648 square meters area. Presently, it has 83 buildings; each equipped with defensive system. One of the noticeable features of the castle is its complex, which looks like a bird that is about to take a flight.
5. Buda Castle
Buda Castle is located in the southern tip of castle hill in Budapest of Hungary. After the attack of Mongols, Buda’s citizen built the castle to defend themselves against the Mongols.
Despite the effort, the castle has been invaded numerous times. This effect can be seen in the styles of buildings in the castle, which ranges from Baroque styles to Gothic styles. The castle took several years of construction. Its present day form was completed in 1266 A.D. It covers an area of 49485 square meters. In present day, it is a museum and also includes National Gallery of Hungary.
6. Spis Castle
Built in the 12th century AD, Spis castle is one of the largest medieval castles in Central Europe. It is located in the countryside of eastern Slovakia. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by the tectonic quake.
Stone wall was used to fortify the main building during the first half of the 13th century for anticipated Tartar incursion. Lower courtyard was fortified in the middle of the 11thcentury. The fortress was changed into homes for the noble families of Hungary later on.
In 1780, the castle caught fire which destroyed most of it. In present day, it is one of the sites listed in the world heritage by UNESCO.
7. Hohesalzburg Castle
Hohesalzburg Castle is one of the largest castles in Europe. It is situated in the city of Salzburg in Austria. It was actually built in 1077 AD, but further works of expansion were done from 1495 A.D to 1519 A.D.
It is the best preserved and one of the biggest medieval fortresses in Central Europe. It covers an area of 54523 square meters. This castle is believed to have never been captured by any enemy. In present day, it stands as fortress museum and displays a wide range of ancient weapons, coins and many musical instruments.
8. Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle is one of the largest and oldest inhabited castles in the world. It is located in England and spreads over an area of 54835 square meter. It is one of the various official residences of Queen Elizabeth II where she has spent many weeks and weekends.
The castle is also used for various state functions. The notable structures in the castle are Queen Mary’s doll house and State apartment. The castle has also served as the burial site of some monarchs.
9. Prague Castle
Prague Castle was built in the 9th century and now stands as one of the largest and majestic castles in the world. Although it was built in the 9th century, its expansion can be dated back to the second half of the 18th century.
It is situated in Czech Republic and covers an area of 66761 square meters. It consists of St. Vitus Cathedral, where the crown jewels are kept. It is full of Gothic structures. The castle has been used as the seat for the Czech monarchs since its construction in 880 A.D.
It also served as the residence of many religious leaders and Holy Roman emperors. In present day, it is used as the official house for the head of the state.
10. Malbork Castle
Malbork Castle is the largest castle in the world with an area of whopping 143591 square meters. It is located in Poland. It was founded by Teutonic Knights, which was the Roman Catholic religious order based in Germany.
The knights used it as headquarter to defeat the Polish enemy, which also helped to rule the northern Baltic territories. Several expansions were done to accommodate the growing number of knights until they retreated in 1466 A.D in Konigsburg.
In 1466, it was home to Polish monarchy. Now, it consists of monasteries and museums. It is also listed in the ‘World Heritage Site’ list by UNESCO.