Castles of the World | World Castle List

The castles of the world are some of the most popular historic sites on the planet. The list of world castles is as varied as it is long and contains everything from world famous castles to hidden castles and ruined castles which are now but a shadow of their former glory.

The castles that we know today really began appearing from around 800-1000AD in Europe. As more countries took on a feudal structure, local lords and nobles began building castles to secure their hold over their particularl fiefdom. Later, castles began to be constructed in a more connected fashion, by increasingly-powerful kings developing more cohesive military systems – a good example of this trend was seen after the Norman conquest of England in 1066AD.

Castles were used to secure a military hold over an area as well as providing a base to both defend and launch attacking raids in un-subdued territory. However, these fortifications were also used as status symbols, grand residences and even became vital administrative centres. In time, castles sprang up throughout Europe and, with the advent of the Crusades, castles were increasingly common in the Middle East and North Africa.

However, the development of gunpowder-based weaponry – particularly artillery – meant that the military importance of the castle declined and soon castles became militarily defunct. However, the cachet associated with castles remained and many of the wealthier classes continued to build castles as grand private homes, ensuring that the list of castles of the world we have today kept growing throughout the centuries.

Nowadays, castle enthusiasts can explore castles in many different countries. The list of castles of the world is immense and can be fascinating to explore. Indeed, the castles of the world appeal to both family day trippers, casual travellers and ardent historians alike, making castles some of the most popular tourist attractions.

We’ve pulled together a list of some of the most interesting castles around the world as well as some of the biggest castles and the most famous castles in the world. Our list of world castles continues to grow and you can explore using the world castles map above or the list of world castles below. Click on each castle for further information, map location, directions and entry details.

Castles of the World | World Castle List: Editor's Picks

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1. Schwerin Castle

Schwerin Castle is a picturesque palace and once the home of the dukes of Mecklenburg.

Schwerin Castle (Schweriner Schloss) is a picturesque palace which seemingly floats upon Schwerin Lake. Whilst it is thought that there was a fort on this location as early as the tenth century, the beginnings of Schwerin Castle date back to 1160, when Henry the Lion (Henry III) built a castle... Read More

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2. Leeds Castle

Leeds Castle in Kent was a 12th century stronghold which has since served as a royal palace, a prison and as a stately home.

Leeds Castle was originally constructed as a fortification in 1119 by Robert de Crevecoeur, a lord under William the Conqueror. In 1278, Leeds Castle took on a different role, as a royal palace to King Edward I, who expanded it, adding further elements such as an impressive barbican. Leeds Castle passed through... Read More

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3. Krak des Chevaliers

Perhaps the best preserved example of a Crusader fortress in existence today, the magnificent fortress of Krak des Chevaliers is a stunning example of Medieval military architecture.

Krak des Chevaliers is a stunning example of Crusader-era military architecture and was the headquarters of the famous Knights Hospitallier during the 12th and 13th centuries. It is perhaps the best preserved example of a Crusader fortress in existence today, and is an awe-inspiring example of medieval military architecture. Built to withstand a... Read More

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4. Castel del Monte

Ranking high on any list of castles of the world, Castel del Monte is an impressive 13th century fortified palace of Frederick II listed by UNESCO.

Castel del Monte in Puglia, Italy is a medieval palace originally built as a hunting lodge by the Emperor Frederick II and later used as his seat of power. Built in the thirteenth century and completed in 1240, Castel del Monte has been described by UNESCO, with whom it is... Read More

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5. Portchester Castle

One of the oldest castles in the world, Portchester Castle has been a Roman fort, a Norman keep and even a wartime prison.

Portchester Castle in Hampshire offers a fantastic insight into various periods of British history and originally dates back to the Roman era. Built during Roman times, probably in the third century AD, Portchester Castle is the country’s only example of a Roman fort whose walls still stand complete up to... Read More

Castles of the World | World Castle List: Site Index

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Aalborghus Castle

Aalborghus Castle is a 16th century castle in northern Denmark which includes the fascinating old dungeons.

Aalborghus Castle, translated as ‘Aalborghus Slot’, is a castle and former fortification in the city of Aalborg in Denmark. Built by Christian III between 1539 and 1555, it was intended as the home of the local governor. Today, visitors can tour Aalborghus Castle and, perhaps most interestingly, its dungeons.... Read More

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Acton Burnell Castle

Acton Burnell Castle is a picturesque ruined English manor and castle near Shrewsbury.

Acton Burnell Castle is a ruined 13th century English fortified manor located south of Shrewsbury, UK. Made up of partially-preserved red sandstone walls, the site is a picturesque shell which makes for a peaceful, atmospheric visit. Originally built around 1284, Acton Burnell Castle belonged to Robert Burnell, a powerful local landowner... Read More

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Ajlun Castle

A grand medieval castle commissioned by Saladin, Ajlun Castle is an excellent example of Ayyubid-era fortifications which is now a tourist attraction and museum.

A grand medieval castle commissioned by Saladin and built by his nephew Izz al-Din Usama, Ajlun Castle was a fortress designed to strike fear in the heart of the Franks. While the crusaders in Levant played cat and mouse with the great Saladin, his generals were preparing for warfare on their... Read More

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Akershus Fortress

Akershus Fortress in Olso has been a vital stronghold and royal residence since the fourteenth century.

Akershus Fortress (Akershus Festning) has been a vital stronghold and royal residence in Oslo since the 14th century. Also known as Akershus Castle (Akershus Slott), it was begun in 1299 under King Hakon V and would go on to play an important defensive role, surviving several sieges. Over the... Read More

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Alanya Castle

With Hellenistic foundations, this magnificent Seljuk ruin sits atop a 250m high peninsular overlooking the Mediterranean sea.

Alanya Castle is a magnificent Seljuk ruin which sits atop a 250-metre high peninsular overlooking the Mediterranean sea. With walls stretching over 6km, Alanya Castle – sometimes called Alanya Fortress – encloses a number of fascinating sites and structures which are well worth exploring today. The origins of the city today... Read More

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Alcazaba Fortress

Merida's Alcazaba Fortress was a castle fortress built in the middle of the 9th century of which only part remains today.

The Alcazaba Fortress of Merida was a stronghold built in approximately 835 AD, during the reign of Abd al-Rahman II. This commanding ninth century structure with its twenty five bastions remains today, albeit with medieval additions and renovations. The Alcazaba Fortress of Merida also has characteristics typical of other civilisations, notably... Read More

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Alcazar of Segovia

Ranking among the most famous castles in the world, the Alcazar of Segovia is an imposing medieval fortress turned royal palace.

The Alcazar of Segovia (Alcazar de Segovia) is an imposing medieval fortress which embodies much of what one would consider to be the ideal vision of a fairytale castle, complete with picturesque turrets and cliff-top location. It is thought that a fort has existed on this site since Roman times, but... Read More

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Alnwick Castle

Ever wanted to head to Hogwarts? Why not visit Alnwick Castle? This historic site in Northumberland is home to the Harry Potter Franchise and is one of the largest castles in England.

Alnwick Castle in Northumberland is one of the largest castle complexes in England and has been the historic home of the famous Percy family for over 700 years. It has risen to more recent fame due to its role as the location of Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movie franchise. A... Read More

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Amalienborg Slot

One of many fascinating Nordic castles, Amalienborg Slot is an 18th century royal palace in north Copenhagen.

Amalienborg Slot in northern Copenhagen is a Rococo style palace originally constructed under the orders of King Frederik V. Made up of four externally similar buildings built around a central courtyard, Amalienborg Slot was completed in 1760. The first residents of the palace were not royals, but rather wealthy families. However,... Read More

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Anadolu Hisari

Anadolu Hisari was built by the Ottoman Sultan Beyazid I in 1395 and is among many Ottoman castles that is definitely worth visiting today.

Anadolu Hisari (Anadoluhisari), translated as the Anatolian Castle, was built by the great grandfather of Mehmet the Conqueror, Sultan Beyazid I in 1395. Anadolu Hisari is not open to the public. However the fifteenth century Rumeli Fortress, which sits just across the Bosporus, is open to tourists.... Read More

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Arsuf

Perhaps one of the lesser known castles of the world, Arsuf is an amazing Crusader castle once occupied by the Knights Hospitaller.

Arsuf, also known as Apollonia, contains the remains of an ancient settlement on the Israeli coast that has stood for over 1,000 years. Arsuf is best known for the remains of a once-mighty Crusader castle which was once home to the Knights Hospitaller, but the site also contains remnants from... Read More

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Arundel Castle

Ranking high on any list of castles of the world, the 11th century Arundel Castle is the historic home of the Dukes of Norfolk and has been continually occupied and renovated over the centuries.

Arundel Castle is the historic home of the Dukes of Norfolk and has been occupied by their line for over 850 years. Amongst the dynasties to have inhabited Arundel Castle was the highly influential Howard family whose number included Catherine Howard, wife of Henry VIII. The first structure on the... Read More

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Ashby Castle

One of the most beatuful castle ruins in the UK, Ashby Castle was a Royalist stronghold destroyed after the English Civil War.

Ashby Castle or ‘Ashby de la Zouch’ is a twelfth century manor house turned castle, the ruins of which can be seen in Leicestershire. Originally constructed during Norman times, Ashby Castle was the property of the Zouch family until the end of the fourteenth century. Expanded and renovated, Ashby Castle achieved... Read More

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Baba Vida Fortress

Baba Vida Fortress is one of the most - if not actually the most - well-preserved medieval castles in Bulgaria.

The Baba Vida Fortress is hailed as one of the most - if not actually the most - well-preserved medieval castles in Bulgaria. Located in the northwest of the country, the Baba Vida Fortress was first built in the 10th century atop the ruins of the Roman watchtower of Bononia,... Read More

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Balmoral Castle

Ranking among the most famous castles in the world, Balmoral Castle has been the official Highlands home of the British royals since Queen Victoria.

Balmoral Castle has been the official Highlands home of the British royal family since the reign of Queen Victoria. Having fallen in love with the Highlands after their first visit in 1842, it was in fact Queen Victoria and Prince Albert who built Balmoral Castle between 1853 and 1856. Today, parts... Read More

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Bamburgh Castle

One of many castles around the world with a rich history, Bamburgh Castle is a grand structure which looms high upon a crag overlooking the coast of Northumberland.

Bamburgh Castle is a grand structure which looms high upon a crag overlooking the coast of Northumberland. It looks like everything one would expect of the former home of the kings of Northumbria, even though the castle which currently stands is actually relatively young. The site upon which Bamburgh Castle is... Read More

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Barnard Castle

Barnard Castle contains the ruins of a Norman stronghold which was later owned by Richard III.

The charming ruins of Barnard Castle in County Durham sit above the small market town of the same name. The first stone fortifications were built on the site by the Norman lord Guy de Baliol, who was granted the estate by William Rufus in 1095AD. However, it was under his nephew... Read More

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Beaumaris Castle

Beaumaris Castle was to be the largest of King Edward’s iron ring of castles intended to encircle Wales.

Beaumaris Castle is an incomplete but nonetheless striking medieval castle on the Isle of Anglesey built by King Edward I. Begun in 1295, this was the last of the king’s ring of castles which he commissioned so as to affirm his conquest of Wales. Designed to be the largest of... Read More

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Berat

Berat is a popular historic town in Albania containing an impressive 13th century castle which looms above the town.

Berat is one of the most popular historic destinations in Albania. An ancient town that has continually been inhabited through the ages, it retains much of its historic charm. Founded in antiquity, an early Macedonian city was built here in the third or fourth centuries BC named Antipatreia after the Macedonian... Read More

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Berkeley Castle

Berkeley Castle was originally built nearly 1,000 years ago, but since then has undergone a number of changes and has been the site of many interesting – and sometimes bloody – events.

Berkeley Castle has been a feature of the Gloucestershire countryside since the 11th Century. Built by William FitzOsbern in 1067, it was one of many motte-and-bailey castles constructed by the Normans shortly after the Conquest of 1066. Before long it passed into the hands of the Berkeley family and was... Read More

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Berkhamsted Castle

Berkhamsted Castle was a medieval stronghold, the ruins of which lie in Berkhamsted, Herts, UK.

Berkhamsted Castle was originally a timber castle constructed in the eleventh century by William the Conqueror’s half-brother, Robert of Mortain. This was in the aftermath of William’s success in the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Located in the strategically important area of Berkhamsted, this motte and bailey castle was a vital... Read More

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Berwick Castle

Berwick Castle was a medieval castle, the ruins of which are located in Berwick-Upon-Tweed, Northumberland.

Berwick Castle was a medieval castle originally built by King David I of Scotland in the 12th century and rebuilt in the thirteenth century by King Edward I of England. Located near the border between Scotland and England, Berwick Castle was an important stronghold and changed hands between the two sides... Read More

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Bishop's Waltham Palace

The ruins of the medieval Bishop’s Waltham Palace and castle can be seen in Hampshire, UK.

Bishop's Waltham Palace is a medieval castle in Hampshire built in the 12th century, although the current picturesque ruins mostly date from the early 14th century works of the Bishop William Wykeham. In its time, Bishop's Waltham Palace acted as a residence for a series of the Bishops of... Read More

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Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle is a 15th century stone castle in Cork, Ireland, and is home to the famous Blarney Stone.

Blarney Castle in Cork, Ireland is the pretty ruin of a medieval structure built by the King of Munster, Cormac Laidhir MacCarthy in 1446. Steeped in mystery and legend, Blarney Castle is home to the Blarney Stone, which is believed to imbue anyone who kisses it with the gift of eloquence.... Read More

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Bodiam Castle

Perhaps one of England’s best known moated castles, Bodiam Castle was built in 1385. The castle suffered during the English Civil War and was restored before being bequeathed to the National Trust. It now ranks among the most beautiful castles in the world.

Perhaps one of Britain’s most picturesque castles, Bodiam Castle was built by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge in 1385 and is now a popular tourist attraction operated by the National Trust. Originally a manor home, Bodiam was converted into a castle by Sir Edward Dalyngrigge, who was granted a licence by Richard II... Read More

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Bodrum Castle

Bodrum Castle in Turkey is a fifteenth century citadel built by Christian knights and houses the Museum of Underwater Archaeology.

Bodrum Castle (Bodrum Kalesi), also known as The Castle of St. Peter, in Bodrum, Turkey was built by the Knights Hospitaller in 1402 in order to offer protection from the invading Seljuk Turks. Constructed according to the highest standards at the time, it remained an important Christian stronghold for over a... Read More

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Bojnice Castle

One of the oldest castles in the world, Bojnice Castle is said to be Slovakia's most romantic castle, and has a history dating to the twelth century.

Bojnice Castle (Bojnicky zamok) is seen by many as Slovakia's most romantic castle, with a history dating to the 12th century. The castle has undergone many changes over the centuries. In its present form it is more similar to a French chateaux or Bavaria's Neuschwanstein than to other Slovak fortresses.... Read More

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Bolsover Castle

Once the site of a medieval fortress before its replacement with an ornate 17th century manor house, Bolsover Castle is today run by English Heritage.

Bolsover Castle near Chesterfield in Derbyshire contains the remains of a 17th century English mansion house, modelled on a medieval castle. The site where Bolsover Castle now stands once contained a small fortification; however this was dismantled in 1612 by the landowner Charles Cavendish, who began a fresh construction on the... Read More

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Borgholm Castle

Borgholm Castle is a picturesque ruined medieval castle on the Swedish island of Öland which is now a popular tourist attraction.

Borgholm Castle, also known as Borgholms Slott, is a ruined medieval castle and palace complex located on the Swedish island of Öland. It is now a popular tourist attraction and one of the most picturesque castles in the country. The origins of the original fortifications built on this site are obscure,... Read More

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Bothwell Castle

A ruined medieval stronghold near Glasgow, Bothwell Castle played a key role in the Scottish Wars of Independence.

Bothwell Castle is a stunning ruined medieval stronghold near Glasgow and one of the most celebrated of its kind. Begun by the Morays, an important aristocratic family, in around 1242, Bothwell Castle was intended to be a large and imposing fort. The tower or "donjon" which remains there today... Read More

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Bran Castle

Oddly linked to the myth of Dracula, Bran Castle is an impressive medieval fortification in Romania which actually has very little to do with the famous vampire legend. Still worth a visit though.

Commanding a strategic crossroads for hundreds of years, Bran Castle in Romania is an impressive medieval fortification and popular tourist attraction. Famously known as Dracula’s Castle, Bran in fact has little or no link to any of the legends surrounding the fictional vampire or even the genuine figure of Vlad... Read More

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Broughton Castle

Situated on the border of Oxfordshire, Broughton Castle is surrounded by a three acre moat, and set amongst the scenic parkland of Broughton park.

Broughton Castle in Oxfordshire is a medieval fortified manor house surrounded by a three acre moat and set amongst scenic parkland. In actual fact, Broughton is more a fortified manor house than a castle, and has been the family seat of the Fiennes family (who hold the title Lord and Lady... Read More

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Buda Castle

One of the biggest castles in the world, Buda Castle is a vast palace in Budapest’s Castle Quarter housing a series of museums including the National Gallery.

Buda Castle (Budai Var) is a vast palace in Budapest’s Castle Quarter housing a series of museums including the National Gallery. In the thirteenth century, the then separate cities of Buda and Pest were endangered by Mongol raids, to which Pest succumbed in the 1241-1242. A few years later, King Bela IV... Read More

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Burg Rheinfels

Among the more picturesque of the world’s castles, Burg Rheinfels was an imposing medieval fort, the dramatic ruins of which lie in St Goar in Germany.

Burg Rheinfels was an imposing medieval fortification, the dramatic ruins of which lie in St Goar in Germany. Initially built in 1245 as a sort of medieval "toll booth" levying charges on ships that sailed along the Rhine, Burg Rheinfels was hated by the citizens of the Rhineland. So much so... Read More

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Burgkloster

The Burgkloster was a medieval monastery and castle turned poorhouse, court and Nazi prison.

The Burgkloster (Castle Monastery) in Lubeck is considered to be one of the most important medieval monasteries in Germany. Established in 1229, the Burgkloster served as a monastery until the Protestant Reformation (circa sixteenth century) after which it was used as a poorhouse until the nineteenth century. Under the Third Reich,... Read More

Byblos

Byblos is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, and contains a twelth century Crusader castle.

Byblos (Jbail) in Lebanon is one of the world’s oldest continuously inhabited cities, as attested by the incredibly diverse ages of its ruins. Thought to have first inhabited sometime around the fifth millennium BC, Byblos began as a Neolithic village of fisherman. Over time, Byblos would, amongst other things,... Read More

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Caerlaverock Castle

Set in truly jaw-dropping Scottish countryside, Caerlaverock Castle was an important fortification, providing defence for the Scottish crown in a period of deep rooted rivalry with England.

Caerlaverock Castle is an impressive a medieval fortress which stands out for its unique triangular design and picturesque location, ensuring it ranks among Scotland’s most remarkable castles. First built in the late-13th century on the site of previous fortifications, Caerlaverock Castle has a long and fascinating history and still bares the... Read More

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Caernarfon Castle

One of many castles of the world that is now popular with tourists, Caernarfon Castle is a stunning medieval stronghold in Wales built by Edward I.

Caernarfon Castle is a stunning medieval stronghold in Wales built by Edward I and listed by UNESCO. Edward, who had conquered Wales by 1283, encircled it with a ring of castles, of which Caernarfon was one. Grand and imposing, Caernarfon Castle was an impressive mix of fort, royal home and... Read More

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Caerphilly Castle

Caerphilly Castle is a vast thirteenth century Anglo-Norman stronghold built to defend against Welsh prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd. Certainly ranking high among any list of the most picturesque castles of the world.

Caerphilly Castle is a vast thirteenth century Anglo-Norman stronghold built to defend against Welsh prince Llywelyn ap Gruffudd. Begun in around 1268 and mostly completed by 1271, its imposing medieval architecture and 30 acre span make Caerphilly Castle one of the most impressive - and formidable - surviving British... Read More

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Camber Castle

Camber Castle is a huge 16th century castle and fortification built by famous English king Henry VIII.

Camber Castle, also known as Winchelsea Castle, was one of a number of forts built by Henry VIII to protect England’s southern coast. Construction of Camber Castle began in 1539, a year after France and Spain had signed a treaty. At the time, the monarch built these fortifications to defend the... Read More

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Carcassonne

Near the top of any list of world castles, Carcassonne is a UNESCO listed fortified town in France with a history dating back to before the Roman era.

Carcassonne, known as “La Cite” is a fortified town in southern France whose important strategic position between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic led to it being inhabited since before the Ancient Roman era. Carcassonne is believed to have first been a hill fort known as an “oppidum” created in the sixth... Read More

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Cardiff Castle

One of the oldest castles in the world, Cardiff Castle is a medieval complex with a diverse history dating back to the Romans.

Cardiff Castle is a medieval complex comprised of a range of styles and with a diverse history. With its good access to the sea, the site of Cardiff Castle was first home to a succession of Roman forts, initially built in the mid first century AD. In the eleventh century, the... Read More

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Carrickfergus Castle

Carrickfergus Castle is a Norman-built fortification which was in continual use as a military stronghold for over 700 years.

Carrickfergus Castle was established in 1177 and remained a prominent stronghold in Northern Ireland for over 700 years. Originally built by the Anglo-Norman nobleman John de Courcy, Carrickfergus Castle was modified repeatedly over the centuries as new weapons, tactics and threats brought fresh challenges to those defending the area. Significant works... Read More

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Castel Sant Angelo

Castel Sant Angelo was the tomb of the Roman Emperor Hadrian later used as a mediecal castle.

Castel Sant Angelo in Rome was originally constructed as the magnificent Mausoleum of Hadrian, the fourteenth emperor of Rome from 117AD to 138AD. It is unclearly as to exactly when Castel Sant Angelo was built, but most sources date it to between 123 and 139 AD. A fortress-like structure, successive Roman... Read More

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Castell de Bellver

Castell de Bellver is a striking 14th century citadel near Palma in Majorca.

Castell de Bellver or “Bellver Castle” is a striking completely round fourteenth century citadel near Palma in Majorca. Set high atop the bay of Palma, it comes as little surprise that the Catalan name “Castell de Bellver” translates as “The castle with a lovely view”. Construction of Castell de Bellver began... Read More

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Castello di San Michele

Castello di San Michele is a medieval castle turned luxury home, hospital and museum.

Castello di San Michele is an imposing medieval citadel in Cagliari in Sardinia built by the Spanish in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. However, there were structures on this site from the tenth century. Later serving as the luxurious home of the Carroz family until 1511, the function of Castello di... Read More

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Castelo de Almourol

The Castle of Almourol is a medieval castle built by the Knights Templar on an islet in the Tagus River.

Almourol Castle was built in the 12th century, on an islet in the middle of the Tagus River, as part of the defensive line held by the Knights Templar during the Portuguese Reconquista. Although the site of Almourol Castle had been used as a fortification since at least Roman times the... Read More

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Castelo dos Mouros

One of the oldest castles in the world, Castelo dos Mouros is a picturesque ruined castle with a history dating back to the eighth century.

Castelo dos Mouros (Castle of the Moors) is a picturesque ruined castle overlooking Sintra in Portugal. Believed to have originally been built by the Moors in around the eighth century - hence the name - Castelo dos Mouros was attacked several times until it was finally taken by King Afonso... Read More

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Castelvecchio Museum

Castelvecchio Museum and Fortress is a fourteenth century medieval castle which now hosts a fine art gallery and museum.

Castelvecchio Museum and Fortress in Verona is a 14th century medieval castle which now hosts a fine art gallery and collections of ancient artifacts. The Castelvecchio fortress itself is a site in its own right and dates back to the 14th century. Built by Cangrande II della Scala, Castelvecchio boasts imposing... Read More

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Castillo de Chapultepec

Chapultepec Castle was once the home of Emperor Maximilian of Habsburg and now houses Mexico’s National History Museum

Chapultepec Castle (Castillo de Chapultepec) is an eighteenth century building in Mexico City’s Chapultepec Park now containing Mexico’s National History Museum (Museo Nacional de Historia). Original construction of Chapultepec Castle began in 1785, but it was only completed after Mexico achieved independence and later refurbished as the home of Emperor Maximilian... Read More

Castillo de San Andres

Castillo de San Andres is the pretty ruin of an 18th, perhaps 17th, century fortification in Tenerife.

Castillo de San Andres is the pretty ruin of an eighteenth - perhaps seventeenth - century fortification built to deter pirates from the island of Tenerife. All that remains today are parts of its main tower, the ruins of which are on display in a public plaza.... Read More

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Castillo de San Jose

Castillo de San Jose is a dramatic cliff-top eighteenth century fort built to protect Lanzarote’s main port from pirate attacks.

Castillo de San Jose is a dramatic cliff-top eighteenth century fort built to protect Lanzarote’s main port from pirate attacks. Commissioned by King Carlos III, Castillo de San Jose was completed in around 1779. At a time of the construction of Castillo de San Jose, the Canary Islands had... Read More

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Castle Acre Priory

Castle Acre Priory was an eleventh century monastery built on a former castle site and dissolved by King Henry VIII.

Castle Acre Priory was a monastery founded in 1090 AD by William de Warenne, the Second Earl of Surrey. Inspired by the French monastery of Cluny, de Warenne built Castle Acre Priory in its image. The result was an impressive and ornately decorated medieval monastic structure later accompanied by a... Read More

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Castle Drogo

Castle Drogo is an early 20th century country home constructed in the style of a mediaeval castle. This impressive building is now owned by the National Trust and open to visitors.

The rather deceptive Castle Drogo in Devon has all the appearance of a medieval castle and yet was actually constructed in the early 20th century. It is said to be the last castle to be built in England. Built to resemble an imposing medieval fortress, Castle Drogo was in fact built... Read More

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Castle Keep

Castle Keep in Newcastle upon Tyne is one of the city’s most famous attractions and one of the best preserved Norman fortifications in the country.

Castle Keep in Newcastle upon Tyne is a partially restored Norman fortification and one of the best preserved of its kind in Britain. Built at a key strategic location, the site of Castle Keep has been occupied for almost 2,000 years with the Romans first fortifying the site in the mid-2nd... Read More

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Castle of Good Hope

An example of the reach of European castle architecture, the Castle of Good Hope is the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa.

The Castle of Good Hope (Casteel de Goede Hoop) in Cape Town is the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa and the current seat of the military in the Cape. The Castle of Good Hope was built by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) between 1666 and 1679 as a... Read More

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Castle of the Knights - Kos

One of many surviving Crusader castles, the Castle of the Knights in Kos was the one of the fortifications of the Knights Hospitaller.

The Castle of the Knights in Kos, sometimes referred to as Kos Castle, was the one of the fortifications of the Knights Hospitaller. Begun in the fourteenth century, the main purpose of the Castle of the Knights was to defend Kos from the Ottomans. In 1495, the Castle of the Knights... Read More

Chateau de Chillon

Castle Chillon is a beautiful fort using Lake Geneva and a moat created between a small island and the mainland for defense.

Chateau de Chillon, also called Castle Chillon, is a beautiful fort which uses both Lake Geneva and a moat created between a small island and the mainland for defense. First mentioned between 1160 or 1005 AD, it is along the shoreline of Lake Geneva near Veytaux. Through the centuries it has... Read More

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Chateau de Prangins

Chateau de Prangins is an eighteenth century French style castle and home to one of the branches of the Swiss National Museum.

Chateau de Prangins (Prangins Castle) is an 18th century French style castle and home to one of the branches of the Swiss National Museum. Dating back to the 1730s, Chateau de Prangins was home to great figures ranging from barons to Joseph Bonaparte and Voltaire before becoming a school.... Read More

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Citadel of Salah Ed-Din

The Citadel of Salah Ed-Din is a Crusader castle situated in Syria which was captured by Saladin and is now a World Heritage site.

The Citadel of Salah Ed-Din, also known as Saladin Castle and Saone, is a partly-preserved fortress in Syria which is an interesting example of Crusader-era fortifications. The site has been used as a fortification for many centuries, and is thought to have first been occupied by the Phoenicians and later by... Read More

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Clifford’s Tower

One of many castles of the world that is now popular with tourists, Clifford’s Tower is a 13th century castle with a diverse history.

Clifford's Tower is a stone structure with a long and varied history which sits high atop a mound in York. In fact, Clifford’s Tower has been everything from a royal mint to a prison and only attained its name in the fourteenth century when it was named after Roger de... Read More

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Colchester Castle

A beautifully preserved Norman stronghold with a rich history dating back to Roman times, Colchester Castle was built on the site of the Temple of Claudius.

Colchester Castle is a beautifully preserved Norman stronghold with a rich history dating back to Roman times. Built from 1076 (some say from 1069) and completed in around 1100, Colchester Castle was constructed under the order of King William I for use as a royal fortress. Colchester Castle would go... Read More

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Conwy Castle

Conwy Castle was one of a ring of medieval strongholds encircling Wales built by King Edward I.

Conwy Castle (sometimes spelt Conway Castle) is the medieval military masterpiece of architect James of St. George. Constructed under the orders of King Edward I of England and built between 1283 and 1289, Conwy Castle was one of a ring of strongholds that the monarch commissioned to establish his dominance... Read More

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Corfe Castle

Among the most picturesque of the world’s castles, Corfe Castle is the stunning ruin of a former royal residence, military stronghold and prison.

Corfe Castle is the stunning ruin of a castle which has been everything from a royal residence to a military stronghold and even a prison. The current incarnation of Corfe Castle was built by William the Conqueror in around 1066, although even before this, the site was of great historical... Read More

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Craigmillar Castle

One of many castles around the world with a rich history, Craigmillar Castle once played host to Mary Queen of Scots.

Craigmillar Castle was built from the fourteenth century and is now a pretty and well-preserved medieval ruin. The most famed aspect of Craigmillar Castle was that it played host to Mary Queen of Scots when she was recovering from an illness. It is also the namesake of a pact between... Read More

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Crichton Castle

Crichton Castle is a distinctive 14th century castle.

Crichton Castle is a distinctive medieval castle built as the residence of the aristocratic Crichton family in the fourteenth century. It would later pass to the Earls of Bothwell. For visitors to Crichton Castle, there is its impressive tower house, unusual facade and fifteenth century great hall.... Read More

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Denbigh Castle

Just a ruin today, Denbigh Castle is one of the ring of castles which was built by King Edward I in order to establish his dominance over Wales.

Denbigh Castle is one of the ring of castles built by King Edward I in order to establish his dominance over Wales. Edward invaded Wales in 1277, defeating its leader, Llywelyn ap Gruffydd (Llywelyn the Last) and then proceeded to encircle it with imposing castles. Denbigh Castle was constructed from around... Read More

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Devin Castle

One of the oldest castles in the world, Devin Castle overlooks the Danube and the border between Slovakia and Austria and its site has a history stretching back to Roman times.

Devin Castle (Devínsky hrad) occupies a strategically important spot in Slovakia. It is located on a cliff above the point where the Morava River empties into the Danube, making it close to Bratislava and Hainburg, Austria. In late antiquity the site was part of the Limes Romanus or limits or... Read More

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Dirleton Castle

Dirleton Castle was an imposing medieval fortress and noble residence, which is now a picturesque ruin not far from Edinburgh.

Dirleton Castle was an imposing medieval fortress and noble residence, which is now a picturesque ruin not far from Edinburgh. First built in the thirteenth century by royal steward John de Vaux, Dirleton Castle became the home of the de Vauxes, under whose ownership it was severely damaged and captured... Read More

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Dover Castle

Ranking high on any list of castles of the world, the medieval Dover Castle is one of Britain’s most significant fortresses and has a fascinating history.

Dover Castle has been a vitally important fortress in English history, leading it to be known as 'the key to England'. Dover Castle’s location is a central aspect of this history. Perched high on the England’s coastal white cliffs overlooking the shortest crossing between the island and mainland Europe, Dover Castle... Read More

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Dublin Castle

Among the most famous castles in the world, Dublin Castle has been everything from a fortification and royal home to a gunpowder storage facility and a prison.

Dublin Castle has served as everything from a fortification and royal home to a gunpowder storage facility and a prison. Construction of Dublin Castle began in 1204 by King John of England, on a site that previously housed a Danish fortress. This first incarnation of Dublin Castle, completed circa 1230,... Read More

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Dudley Castle

Dudley Castle is a ruined Norman motte and bailey castle which is now open to visitors and also hosts the popular Dudley Zoo within its grounds.

Dudley Castle is a ruined Norman motte and bailey castle which is now open to visitors and also hosts the popular Dudley Zoo within its grounds. Originally built in the 11th century it was constructed by Ansculf de Picquigny, one of the followers of William the Conqueror. It was rebuilt over... Read More

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Dumbarton Castle

Dumbarton Castle served as a wartime prison, a royal shelter and a defence against both foreign and local threats.

Dumbarton Castle was a medieval stronghold which served as a wartime prison, a royal shelter and a defence against both foreign and national threats. Even the site upon which Dumbarton Castle sits -Dumbarton Rock - has an illustrious past. Little survives of the medieval castle - most of it is... Read More

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Dunstaffnage Castle

Dunstaffnage Castle is a medieval stronghold once captured by Robert the Bruce.

Dunstaffnage Castle is a medieval stronghold built by the MacDougall clan at a time when Scotland was under constant threat from Norwegian attack. Begun in the 1220s, Dunstaffnage Castle was made of stone and its curtain wall remains a highly impressive and imposing sight. In the Scottish Wars of Independence, Robert... Read More

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Dunstanburgh Castle

Dunstanburgh Castle was a 14th century fortress, the striking ruins of which can be found on Northumberland’s coast.

Originally built as a symbol of baronial power and status, Dunstanburgh Castle is now a striking ruin on the coast of Northumberland. It was Earl Thomas of Lancaster who began construction of Dunstanburgh Castle in 1313. At the time, the Earl, who was one of the Lords Ordainers, a group... Read More

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Durham Castle

Formerly the home of the Bishops of Durham, Durham Castle dates back to the eleventh century.

Durham Castle is an eleventh century building and the former home of the Bishops of Durham. Originally commissioned by William the Conqueror in 1072, Durham Castle was intended to ensure Norman control in the North of England. Once under Church control, each bishop, on his appointment, would put his own stamp... Read More

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Edinburgh Castle

Near the top of any world castles list, Edinburgh Castle is a medieval fortress and royal castle turned national monument and World Heritage site.

A royal residence, a vital stronghold and an iconic structure, Edinburgh Castle is one of the most famous castles in the world. Known by its English name since the invasion of the Angles in 638AD, the first mentions of Edinburgh Castle occurred in 600 AD during Roman Britain, when it... Read More

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Fagaras Fortress

Fagaras Fortress is an imposing 14th century stronghold in Transylvania.

Fagaras Fortress in Transylvania in Romania is an impressive stronghold originally built in 1310 and expanded from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century to create a square castle surrounded by a further thick curtain wall with five towers. Much of this later work was carried out during the reigns of... Read More

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Fil’akovo Castle

Fil’akovo Castle is a medieval site on the current Slovak-Hungarian border and the former frontier of the Ottoman Empire.

Built on volcanic rock, Fil’akovo Castle and the town beneath it are located near the border between Slovakia and Hungary. When Fil’akovo Castle was built, which is said to have been sometime by the 12th century, the area belonged to Hungary, as did most of present-day Slovakia. It would later... Read More

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Fotheringhay Castle

One of many castles around the world with a rich history, Fortheringhay Castle was the birthplace of Richard III and site of execution of Mary Queen of Scots.

Birthplace of Richard III and site of the trial and execution of Mary Queen of Scots, this Norman motte and bailey castle is now a ruin - in fact very little is left of it today. Fortheringhay Castle is easily accessable during daylight hours, and should delight those interested in medieval... Read More

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Framlingham Castle

Framlingham Castle is an impressive twelth century fortified castle in Suffolk, UK.

Framlingham Castle in Suffolk was built in the late 12th century by the Earl of Norfolk, Roger Bigod, who was an important member of the court of the Plantagenet kings. With its imposing mural towers and stone walls, Framlingham Castle served as a fortress and a status symbol. Over the centuries,... Read More

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Frederiksborg Slot

Frederiksborg Slot is a restored 16th century royal palace in Denmark and the site of the National History Museum.

Frederiksborg Slot or ‘Frederiksborg Castle’ in Northwest Zealand, Denmark, was originally built in 1560 by Frederik II and expanded by Christian IV. Following a fire in 1859, which ravaged much of the castle, Frederiksborg Slot was restored and now serves in large part as Denmark’s National History Museum. So, in addition to... Read More

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Gediminas Tower

Gediminas Tower is an iconic fortified tower and the sole remaining part of the Upper Castle of Vilnius.

Gediminas Tower in Vilnius is the only remaining structure of what was once the city’s Upper Castle. The Upper Castle was one of three castles in Vilnius, all of which suffered a series of attacks in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, particularly by the Teutonic Order. Named after the Grand Duchy... Read More

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Glamis Castle

A magnificent castle in Glamis, Scotland, the French chateau styling and the historic setting provides an excellent day out.

A stunning medieval fortification set in the beautiful Scottish countryside, Glamis Castle has a fascinating history as well as a strong connection to the British royal family. Though the area upon which it stands has been occupied from at least the 11th century, Glamis Castle itself traces its roots back to... Read More

Godolphin House

Godolphin House is a Cornish stately home built in the castle style by the Godolphin family, who were prominent in the reign of Queen Anne.

Godolphin House is a Cornish Grade 1 listed stately home with Tudor and Stuart elements. Originally dating back to the 15th century, with an historic garden now restored to its original layout, the Godolphin House that exists today was largely the work of the Godolphin family in the early 17th... Read More

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Goodrich Castle

Goodrich Castle is a picturesque Norman ruin in Herefordshire, UK, that was the site of a bitter siege during the English Civil War.

Goodrich Castle in Herefordshire is one of the most picturesque medieval ruins in the UK. Standing at the peak of a scenic woodland hilltop, this Norman fortification has attracted tourists to view its ethereal remains since the 18th century. The first recorded structure to be built on the Goodrich Castle site... Read More

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Grandmasters Palace - Rhodes

Ranking among the most famous castles in the world, the Grandmasters Palace of Rhodes was the base of the Knights Hospitaller of St John.

The Grandmasters Palace of Rhodes was the palace of the Knights Hospitaller of St John. Dating to the fourteenth century (circa 1309), the Grandmasters Palace would be the base of this famous Christian and military order until Rhodes was captured by the Ottomans in 1522. Under this empire the Grandmasters Palace... Read More

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Grandmasters Palace - Valletta

The Grandmasters Palace in Valletta has been the seat of power in Malta since the 16th century.

The Grandmasters Palace in Valletta has been the seat of power in Malta since the sixteenth century. It was in 1571 that the Knights Hospitaller of St John made the Grandmasters Palace their base, a role which it would fulfil until 1798, when this religious and military order left Malta. At... Read More

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Gruyeres Castle

Gruyeres Castle is a picturesque medieval castle which was the seat of nobility for centuries.

Gruyeres Castle (Chateau de Gruyeres) is a picturesque medieval castle which was the seat of nobility for centuries. Indeed, built in the 13th century, Gruyeres Castle was called home by some nineteen of the counts of Gruyeres, a tradition only ended in the 16th century upon the bankruptcy of the... Read More

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Hailes Castle

Hailes Castle was a medieval stronghold, the pretty ruins of which date back mostly to the 14th century.

Hailes Castle was a medieval stronghold, the pretty ruins of which date back mostly to the fourteenth century. However, some of the stonework at Hailes Castle is thought to have been constructed as far back as the thirteenth century, making it some of the oldest of its kind in Scotland. It... Read More

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Hame Castle

Hame Castle is a medieval site which has served as everything from a royal residence to a prison and evena granary.

Hame Castle (Hameenlinna) is a medieval site which has served as everything from a royal residence to a granary and a prison. Whilst it is unclear as to when exactly Hame Castle was built, it is usually dated to the late 13th century. Indeed, many historians associate it with the... Read More

Hammershus Castle

Among the larger castles of the world, Hammershus Castle was a medieval fortress, the vast ruins of which lie on the island of Bornholm.

Hammershus Castle or Hammershus Slot was an imposing castle and fortress, the ruins of which are found on the island of Bornholm in Denmark. The oldest of the ruins of Hammershus Castle date back to the thirteenth century and are thought to have been built under the remit of the Archbishop... Read More

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Harlech Castle

One of many castles of the world that is now a popular tourist attraction, Harlech Castle is a dramatic medieval stronghold and one the castles built by Edward I in his conquest of Wales.

Harlech Castle is a dramatic medieval stronghold and one of a ring of imposing castles built by Edward I between 1283 and 1289 in his conquest of Wales. In 1404, Harlech Castle was subject to a siege and captured by rebel Welsh forces led by Owain Glyndwr. Glyndwr would hold Harlech... Read More

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Hastings Castle

One of the oldest castles in the world, Hastings Castle was one of the first Norman castles to be built in England.

Hastings Castle was originally built as a timber structure a short time after the Norman invader William the Conqueror landed in England in 1066. This was not far from the site where, shortly afterwards, William decisively defeated King Harold in one of the most significant battles in English history, the... Read More

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Helmsley Castle

Helmsley Castle was a twelth century castle in York and the site of a dramatic siege during the English Civil War.

Helmsley Castle was a large medieval fortress and mansion, the ruins of which are located in the town of Helmsley, Yorkshire. Initially built as a timber construction by the influential baron and military man Walter l’Espec in 1120, it was converted to stone by his nephew, Robert de Roos and... Read More

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Hohensalzburg Fortress

One of the biggest castles in the world, Hohensalzburg Fortress is a vast 11th century citadel in Salzburg, Austria.

Hohensalzburg Fortress, also known as Hohensalzburg Castle, in Salzburg, Austria, is an incredibly well preserved citadel and one of the largest remaining medieval fortresses in central Europe. Hohensalzburg was built in 1077 by Gebhard von Helfenstein, also known as Prince Gebhard I of Helffenstein and Archbishop Gebhard, and was later expanded... Read More

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Hohenzollern Castle

Hohenzollern Castle is a truly impressive 19th century German castle and popular tourist destination located 40 miles south of Stuttgart.

Hohenzollern Castle is a truly impressive 19th century castle and popular tourist destination located 40 miles south of Stuttgart. There were in fact three castles built on the Hohenzollern site. The first was built in the early 11th century but this castle was completely destroyed in 1423 after a ten-month siege. A... Read More

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Holstentor

Holstentor is a picturesque medieval gate which houses the city museum of Lubeck. UNESCO listed.

If Holstentor looks familiar, this might be because you’ve glimpsed it on a German 2 Euro coin. Of course, with its fairytale appearance, Holstentor, often known as Holsten Tor or Holsten Gate, looks like the very image of an ideal castle. Built between 1464 and 1478, Holstentor was part of the... Read More

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Hunedoara Castle

Hunedoara Castle in Romania was a medieval fortress turned royal palace.

Hunedoara Castle, also known as Corvin Castle or “Corvinesti” in Hunedoara in Romania was originally a fortress, the date of origin of which is highly contested. Used as a royal stronghold until 1440, Hunedoara Castle was then expanded by the General Iancu de Hunedoara, who renovated it, turning into an... Read More

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Hylton Castle

Hylton Castle was the private home of a wealthy family in Medieval England.

Hylton Castle was built first in the eleventh century and then rebuilt in the late fourteenth century as the home of the wealthy Hylton family, a role which it fulfilled until 1746. Today, this gatehouse tower of this stone structure remains as a well-preserved ruin and contains some royal artifacts. Hylton... Read More

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Kalmar Castle

Kalmar Castle is a fortified castle in Sweden which dates back to the 12th century.

Kalmar Castle or ‘Kalmar Slott’ is a medieval castle whose history dates back to the twelfth century. Originally only made up of a lone fortified tower, Kalmar Castle developed over time to become an imposing stronghold and castle. In the sixteenth century Kalmar Castle was expanded and renovated in the hands... Read More

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Kastelholm Castle

Kastelholm Castle is a medieval castle located on the Åland Islands and once home to King Gustav I, often thought of as the founder of modern Sweden.

Kastelholm Castle, also known as Kastelholms Slott or Kastelholman Linna, is a medieval castle located on the Åland Islands. First constructed in the 1380s, Kastelholm Castle was a military and administrative centre for the region, which then formed part of the Swedish Empire. Successive Swedish and Danish governors continued to maintain... Read More

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Kenilworth Castle

An interesting entry on any list of world castles, Kenilworth Castle is a former medieval stronghold and royal palace, most famed as the home of Elizabeth’s beloved Robert Dudley.

Kenilworth Castle is a former medieval stronghold and royal palace, most famed as the home of Elizabeth’s beloved Robert Dudley. It was King Henry I's treasurer, Geoffrey de Clinton, who built the vast Norman keep of Kenilworth Castle in the 1120s which can still be seen there today. ... Read More

Kerak Castle

An impressive 12th century Crusader castle in Jordan, the remains of the fortification of Kerak are an awesome and slightly forbidding sight even today.

Kerak Castle is an impressive 12th century Crusader-era fortification located to the south of Amman, Jordan, on the ancient King's Highway. Today the castle operates as a visitor attraction and contains a maze of corridors and chambers within the imposing fortifications. Described by a contemporary adventurer as "the most marvellous, most... Read More

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Kidwelly Castle

Kidwelly Castle is a Norman masterpiece which still stands majestically in the calm Welsh countryside as a reminder of the tumultuous Anglo-Welsh past.

Kidwelly Castle has overlooked the river Gwendraeth and the town of Kidwelly since 1106, shortly after the Norman conquest. Originally intended to defend Norman - and therefore English - rule against the Welsh, Kidwelly Castle fell several times during revolts in the twelfth century. But it stood firm when besieged in... Read More

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Kolossi Castle

Kolossi Castle was a fortification of the Knights Hospitallers built in the 13th century and rebuilt in the 15th century.

Kolossi Castle was originally a thirteenth century Frankish fortification near Limassol in Cyprus. Constructed by the Knights Hospitallers in 1210, Kolossi Castle almost exclusively remained in their possession until it was destroyed by Mameluke raids in 1525/6. The only interruption occurred between 1306 and 1313, when it was taken over by... Read More

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Konigstein Fortress

Konigstein Fortress in Dresden has been everything from a stronghold to a World War II prisoner of war camp.

Konigstein Fortress or Festung Königstein is a famous fortified structure near Dresden, Germany which has never been taken. It is unclear when Konigstein Fortress was first constructed, but mentions of a castle on the site go back to 1233. As a castle, Konigstein was used as a stronghold and a sixteenth... Read More

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Kronborg Slot

Ranking among the most famous castles in the world, Kronborg Slot is a 15th century UNESCO-list castle in Denmark and the setting for Shakespeare’s 'Hamlet’.

The first incarnation of Kronborg Slot or Kronborg Castle in Helsingør, Denmark was constructed in the 1420’s by Erik of Pomerania. Known as Krogen or “the Hook”, this was a heavily fortified structure. Over time, Kronborg Slot was renovated by its successive royal owners, notably by Frederik II who transformed it... Read More

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Linlithgow Palace

Linlithgow Palace was the birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots and host to most of the Stuart kings.

Linlithgow Palace was built in the fifteenth century on a site with a history dating back thousands of years. Now a dramatic ruin, its royal connection makes it an enduring tourist attraction. It was James I who began building Linlithgow Palace in 1424. With its location between Stirling Castle and Edinburgh... Read More

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Lochleven Castle

Lochleven Castle was a medieval stronghold most renowned for being the prison of Mary Queen of Scots.

Lochleven Castle was a medieval island stronghold, the dramatic ruins of which can be reached by boat. Whilst being most well known for being the prison of Mary Queen of Scots, Lochleven Castle’s role within Scottish royal history extends far further. Many royals were guests - as opposed to prisoners... Read More

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Ludgershall Castle

Ludgershall Castle was a medieval royal castle and hunting lodge, of which only ruins and earthworks remain.

Ludgershall Castle was a royal castle and hunting lodge. Today, its ruins and earthworks stand in the modern village of Ludgershall and are believed to date back to the twelfth or thirteenth century. There is also a medieval cross located in the centre of the village.... Read More

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Ludlow Castle

Ludlow Castle, the finest of medieval ruined castles, set in glorious Shropshire countryside, at the heart of this superb, bustling black

Ludlow Castle, the finest of medieval ruined castles, set in glorious Shropshire countryside. Initially a Norman stronghold it then turned royal castle, the imposing ruins of which can be seen today. The castle’s origins can be traced back to the 11th century and to Walter de Lacy, a Norman nobleman... Read More

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Maiden Castle

One of the oldest castle sites in the world, Maiden Castle is vast, well preserved Iron Age hill fort in Dorchester.

Maiden Castle is vast, well preserved Iron Age hill fort in Dorchester. Its name is believed to be derived from two Celtic words, ‘Mai’ and ‘Dun’, meaning “Great Hill”. Imposing and incredibly complex, Maiden Castle would certainly have posed a great challenge to anyone wishing to invade it. Whilst the site... Read More

Photo by Jeroen Fossaert (cc)

Malbork Castle

One of the largest castles in the world, Malbork Castle in northern Poland was the medieval fortified castle of the Teutonic Knights.

Malbork Castle (Zamek w Malborku), known in German as the Marienburg, is actually more of a medieval fortified castle complex enclosed within thick walls. Including a vast palace, a monastery, three castles and hundreds of other buildings - mostly homes - Malbork Castle was built in the thirteenth century by... Read More

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Manorbier Castle

Described as the most pleasant spot in Wales, Manorbier is a well preserved medieval castle located on the Welsh coast in Pembrokeshire.

Nestled in a tranquil spot amidst the Welsh Countryside, Manorbier Castle is a pretty, partially-ruined Norman fortification which overlooks the scenic coastline. The notable 12th century author and one-time resident of Manorbier, Gerald of Wales, may have been biased when he described the castle as "the pleasantest spot in Wales" -... Read More

Marbella Castle Walls

The Marbella Castle Walls were once part of an impressive Moorish citadel built in the 10th century.

The Marbella Castle Walls (Murallas del Castillo) were once part of an impressive Moorish citadel built in the tenth century. Relatively little remains of this once great site. Today, tourists are confined to viewing this fortification from the outside as it is not open to the public.... Read More

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Middleham Castle

An important English castle, Middleham Castle was the childhood home of King Richard III.

Middleham Castle was a medieval castle built in the twelfth century and expanded by the influential Neville family to become a fortress by the middle of the fifteenth century. Amongst others, Middleham Castle was the home of the most famous of the Neville family, Richard “the Kingmaker” Neville, who was the... Read More

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Montezuma Castle

Among the lesser-known castles of the world, and somewhat unconventional for the category, Montezuma Castle is a 12th century cliff dwelling in Arizona.

Montezuma Castle in Arizona, USA is a cliff dwelling built by the Sinagua Indians in around 1100AD and occupied until approximately 1425AD. Occupying an area of around 4,000 square feet, Montezuma Castle is an eminently impressive five storey limestone and mud structure demonstrating the ingenuity of the Sinagua people. Unfortunately, the public... Read More

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Mystras

Mystras is an archaeological site in Greece housing the remains of a city built around a 13th century castle.

Mystras or “Morea” sits atop a hill overlooking the city of Sparta. In approximately 1248-1249, William II of Villehardouin, a prince of Achaea who had taken part in the Fourth Crusade, decided to build a stronghold there as a defence from the Byzantines. Soon after the castle was completed, William was... Read More

Nea Pafos

Nea Pafos is an archaeological site near Paphos which contains the Castle of Forty Columns, a Byzantine fortification constructed in the seventh century AD.

Nea Pafos is an archaeological site near Paphos Harbour in Cyprus housing the remains of what was once the capital of the island. Founded in the fourth century BC by Nikokles, the last king of nearby Palaipafos, Nea Pafos then went from strength to strength, particularly under the Ptolemaic kingdom... Read More

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Neuschwanstein Castle

A fairy-tale castle built for an introverted and reclusive king, Neuschwanstein Castle’s idyllic mountainous setting attracts millions of tourists.

A fairy-tale fortress built for an introverted and reclusive king, Neuschwanstein Castle was built in the 19th century for Bavaria’s notorious King Ludwig II and is now a prominent tourist attraction which draws vast numbers of visitors every year. After Ludwig’s submission to Prussia in 1866 the king focused his attention... Read More

Nuremberg Castle

Ranking among the most famous castles in the world, Nuremberg Castle is a medieval castle where Holy Roman Emperors would reside.

Nuremberg Castle (Nürnberger Burg) is a medieval castle - or rather a castle complex - made up of three parts. Whilst it is unclear as to exactly when Nuremberg Castle was first constructed, by the mid-eleventh century, it was a prestigious residence. In fact, between 1050 and 1571, every Holy... Read More

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Okehampton Castle

Okehampton Castle was once Devon’s largest castle and was listed in the Doomsday Book.

Listed in the Doomsday Book of 1086, Okehampton Castle was built during Norman times and expanded in the fourteenth century, becoming the stately home of the Earl of Devon, Hugh Courtenay. Okehampton Castle remained in the ownership of the Courtenay family until 1538, when Henry Courtenay entered into a dispute with... Read More

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Orava Castle

Near the top of any list of world castles, Orava Castle is one of Slovakia’s most famous castles and was featured in the 1922 film "Nosferatu".

Above the Orava River is a high spit of land, and atop the cliff is Orava Castle (Oravsky hrad). The site of fortresses over the years, the first stone building dates from 1241. The buildings are arranged in three levels; the lower, central, and upper castles, and originally were in... Read More

Photo by jonboy mitchell (cc)

Orford Castle

Orford Castle was a twelth century fortified castle built during the reign of King Henry II.

Orford Castle was originally built in 1165 under the orders of King Henry II. An impressive fortified stone structure surrounded by a curtain wall and several defensive mounds, Orford Castle was intended to protect the kingdom from invasion, both from the coast on which it was located and from within,... Read More

Paderne Castle

Paderne Castle was a Moorish stronghold later taken by the forces of King Afonso III.

Paderne Castle (Castelo de Paderne) was originally built as a Moorish stronghold during the period of the Almohad dynasty. While Paderne Castle dates back to the eleventh and twelfth centuries, the site on which it was constructed has a history which may stretch as far back as Roman times. In... Read More

Paphos Castle

One of many castles of the world that is now popular with tourists, Paphos Castle is a medieval fortification in Paphos Harbour.

Paphos Castle was originally a Frankish fortification constructed in the mid-thirteenth century. At this time, the island needed a new form of defence, its previous fortification - Saranda Kolones – having been devastated by an earthquake. The remains of Saranda Kolones can be seen in nearby Nea Paphos. However, the Paphos... Read More

Peles Castle

Peles Castle was the summer home of Romania’s first king, Carol I.

Peles Castle (Castelul Peles) in Sinaia, Romania was the summer home of the Romanian royal family until 1947. Commissioned by Carol I (1839-1914), Romania’s first king, Peles Castle was constructed between 1873 and 1883 and built in a neo-Renaissance style with Fachwerk facades. It became the home of Carol I’s wife,... Read More

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Pevensey Castle

An interesting entry on any list of world castles, Pevensey Castle is a picturesque ruin of a medieval castle built where William the Conqueror landed in 1066.

Pevensey Castle is a Norman castle built upon the fourth century AD Roman fort of Anderida, the substantial remains of which are still visible today. Indeed, the main outer defensive walls of the larger Roman fortification have survived very much intact, forming a wider outer ring within which the main... Read More

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Pontefract Castle

Originally a Norman structure, Pontefract castle played an increasingly important role in English Royal history for over 500 years. Today it lies in ruins but has much for visitors to enjoy, including its underground dungeons.

Pontefract Castle was a key strategic military stronghold in Northern England which played a crucial role in many of the country’s most bitter conflicts for over five hundred years. The land that now houses the remains of one of the most notorious castles in England was given to Ilbert de Lacy... Read More

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Powis Castle

Powis Castle was built by Welsh princes in the early 13th century and has maintained much of its exterior grandeur.

Powis Castle was built by Welsh princes in the early thirteenth century and, whilst the interior has been refursbished several times, it has maintained much of its exterior grandeur. Having been the stately home of the noble Herbert and Clive families, Powis Castle and its vast gardens are now open... Read More

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Prague Castle

Prague Castle dates back to the 9th century and is reportedly the largest castle in the world and a focal point of Czech history .

Prague Castle (Prazsky hrad) is the Czech Republic’s most iconic landmark, a UNESCO World Heritage site and apparently the largest castle complex in the world. Sprawled over an area of 70,000 m², the complex is made up of the large, Gothic Saint Vitus Cathedral, Golden Lane, Lobkowicz Palace and St. George’s Basilica... Read More

Qasr Amra

One of the oldest castles in the world, Qasr Amra is a UNESCO-listed 8th century desert castle in Jordan.

Qasr Amra (Qusair Fortress) is an eighth century desert castle in the Jordanian desert. Listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list, the square-shaped Qasr Amra is mostly gone, but its country house is extremely well preserved, with many of its walls and even ceilings intact. It is not entirely clear who built... Read More

Raglan Castle

Certainly ranking high among any list of the most picturesque castles of the world, Raglan Castle is the dramatic ruin of a 15th century castle destroyed in the English Civil War.

Raglan Castle is the dramatic ruin of a 15th century castle built by Welsh nobleman Sir William ap Thomas. His son, William Herbert, completed Raglan Castle and it met its end during the English Civil War.... Read More

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Ragnhildsholmen

Ragnhildsholmen is an early medieval castle ruin, representing all that remains of a 13th century border fortress.

Ragnhildsholmen near Gothenburg is an early medieval castle ruin, representing all that remains of a 13th century border fortress. The Ragnhildsholmen castle was built around 1250 AD by Norwegian king Håkon Håkonsson (aka Haakon IV of Norway) at a strategically important point on the south eastern border of Norway as it... Read More

Raseborg Castle

Raseborg Castle is a ruined medieval castle in southern Finland first mentioned in writing in 1378.

Raseborg Castle (Raaseporin Linna) is a ruined medieval castle in southern Finland first mentioned in writing in 1378. It is believed that Raseborg Castle was built by Bo Joninpoika Grip - who was the royal council leader of Magnus IV of Sweden - in 1370 and to have undergone ongoing... Read More

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Restormel Castle

An interesting entry on any list of world castles, Restormel Castle was a 13th century castle in Cornwall, the pretty ruins of which are well preserved.

Restormel Castle was a stone castle defended by a moat and located on a large mound overlooking Cornwall. Its historic ruins, which date back to the late 13th and early 14th century and may have been built by King Edmund, are made up of a dramatic circular stone keep. It... Read More

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Rhuddlan Castle

Rhuddlan Castle was one of the iron ring of strongholds built by Edward I in his conquest of Wales.

Rhuddlan Castle was one of the iron ring of strongholds built by Edward I in his conquest of Wales. Construction of Rhuddlan Castle began in 1277 and it was built in a concentric style. Today the pretty ruins of Rhuddlan Castle are open to the public.... Read More

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Richborough Roman Fort

Richborough Roman Fort in Kent marks the site where the Romans successfully invaded Britain in 43 AD.

Richborough Roman Fort, originally called “Rutupiae”, in Kent marks the site where the Romans successfully invaded Britain in 43 AD. Known by many as the “gateway to Britain” and also Richborough Castle, Richborough Roman Fort is thought to have begun as a military stronghold for the invading Roman soldiers and developed... Read More

Rosenborg Slot

Ranking high on any list of castles of the world, Rosenborg Slot is a 17th century royal palace in Copenhagen in Denmark.

Rosenborg Slot (Rosenborg Castle) in North Copenhagen is a seventeenth century royal palace built by Christian IV. Construction of Rosenborg Slot began in 1606 with the intention that it become a summer home for Danish monarchs, a purpose which it served until Fredensborg Slot was built in the eighteenth century. Today, Rosenborg... Read More

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Rothesay Castle

Rothesay Castle is a distinctive medieval ruin with strong links to the royal Stewart dynasty.

Rothesay Castle was originally built by Walter, 3rd High Steward and ancestor of the royal Stewart line, in the thirteenth century. It was intended as a stronghold against the ongoing threat of Norwegian invasion and was taken by attackers from Norway in both 1230 and 1263. In 1371, Rothesay Castle attained... Read More

Sagunto Castle

Sagunto Castle was a large Moorish citadel, the impressive remains of which overlook the modern town.

Sagunto Castle (Castillo de Sagunto) is a vast ruin spread over a kilometre and overlooking the town. The most impressive parts of Sagunto Castle date back to around the eighth century and were built by the Moors as an imposing fortress. However, the site also shows signs of previous inhabitants... Read More

Salses Fortress

Salses Fortress is an impressive medieval fortress in Plateau de Rousillon in France.

Salses Fortress, also known as Salses Castle or ‘Forteresse de Salses” is a medieval fortified castle in the eastern Pyrenees area of Plateau de Rousillon in France. Constructed by the Spanish in the late-fifteenth, early-sixteenth century, Salses Castle was a vital stronghold on the then-border with France. It was the subject... Read More

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Sandal Castle

One of many castles around the world with a rich history, Sandal Castle was the site of an important battle in the Wars of the Roses.

Sandal Castle is a ruin of an historic castle believed to date back to the twelfth century and which played an important role in the Wars of the Roses. In the latter half of 1460, Richard of York, who was making a bid for the throne, was at Sandal Castle... Read More

Shirvanshahs’ Palace

Shirvanshahs’ Palace is a 15th century castle complex in Baku in Azerbaijan.

Shirvanshahs’ Palace (Palace of the Shirvanshahs) is a fifteenth century castle and complex in the old city of Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku. Originally constructed by the ruler Shirvanshah Khalilulla I and his son, Faruk, Shirvanshahs’ Palace had both royal and religious significance. However, Shirvanshahs’ Palace is somewhat incomplete as construction was halted... Read More

Sigiriya

Sigiriya is a vast rock used over time as a Buddhist monastery and as a 5th century royal fortress.

Sigiriya in Sri Lanka combines a natural phenomenon with history and religion. Comprised of a vast red rock mound rising over a thousand feet, it is thought that Sigiriya (meaning “Lion Rock”) was originally inhabited during the third century BC, when a Buddhist monastery was founded there. In the fifth century... Read More

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Silves Castle

An interesting entry on any world castles list, Silves Castle is an imposing Moorish stronghold.

Silves Castle (Castelo de Silves) is an imposing Moorish stronghold which defended this once thriving Moorish settlement in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Following the re-conquest by Christian forces in 1242, Silves Castle was altered and renovated, this work continuing throughout the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Today, Silves Castle... Read More

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Spis Castle

One of the biggest castles in the world, Spis Castle is Slovakia’s most famous castle ruin.

Occupying a hill site inhabited since before 5000BC, Spis Castle (Spišský hrad) is said to be Slovakia's most famous castle ruin and is now among the largest castle complexes on the continent, covering over 4 hectares. Whilst a first incarnation Spis Castle was begun in the 12th century, this collapsed due... Read More

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St Fagans National History Museum

St Fagans National History Museum is a unique open-air museum of the history of Wales.

St Fagans National History Museum, also known as the Museum of Welsh Life (Amgueddfa Werin Cymru), is a unique open-air museum of the history of Wales. This distinctive museum tells the story of Welsh history through re-erected historic buildings. In fact, the grounds of St Fagans National History Museum are... Read More

St George’s Castle

St George’s Castle in Lisbon is a medieval castle which once served as a royal palace.

St George’s Castle (Castelo de Sao Jorge) in Lisbon is a medieval citadel resting high atop one of the city’s highest hills overlooking the Tagus River. Historical research has shown that the hill on which St George’s Castle sits was inhabited as early as the sixth century BC, with the first... Read More

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Stirling Castle

Ranking among the best castles in the world, Stirling Castle is an iconic royal palace, a medieval stronghold and a focal point for many of the most important events in Scotland’s history.

Stirling Castle is an iconic royal palace and stronghold, seen to represent Scottish independence and a focal point for many of the most important events in Scotland’s history. Famous Events at Stirling Castle It was the site of royal deaths such as that of King Alexander I in 1124 and William... Read More

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Suomenlinna Fortress

Ranking among the most famous castles in the world, Suomenlinna Fortress is an impressive, UNESCO-listed 18th century maritime fortification.

Suomenlinna Fortress is an impressive 18th century maritime fortification complex spread over eight islands in Helsinki and which has been property of the Swedish, the Russians and the Finnish. Considered an excellent example of the military architecture of the period, Suomenlinna Fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Swedish Period Begun... Read More

Syracuse Archaeological Site

The Syracuse Archaeological Site contains the impressive remains of an ancient city including a fort known as the Castle of Euryalus.

The Syracuse Archaeological Site (Siracusa) in Sicily contains the impressive remains of the ancient city of Syracuse dating as far back as the eighth century BC. The city of Syracuse was founded by Greek colonists - heralding from Corinth - in 734 BC. At its height, Syracuse was the most... Read More

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Tantallon Castle

Tantallon Castle was the imposing medieval stronghold of an influential Scottish family.

Tantallon Castle was the imposing medieval stronghold of the influential Douglas Earls of Angus for around three centuries. Built in the fourteenth century by the first such earl, William Douglas, and later updated to deal with more modern warfare, Tantallon Castle would survive numerous sieges before being utterly devastated by... Read More

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Tematin Castle

Tematin Castle is a picturesque ruined medieval fortress near the modern towns of Hrádok and Lúka in Slovakia.

The relatively isolated, picturesque ruins of the Tematin Castle are all that remains of this 13th century stronghold. Located in the mountains to the east of the modern towns of Hrádok and Lúka, Tematin was probably built in the second half of the 13th century as part of the wider defences... Read More

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Teotihuacan

Though not seen as standard for a traditional world castles list, Teotihuacan contains a number of castle fortresses.

Teotihuacan was a holy Mesoamerican city built in around 400 BC in what is now Mexico and forms one of the country’s oldest archeological sites. Whilst the founders of Teotihuacan have never been definitively identified, it is thought that the city was inhabited by the Toltecs and was also an... Read More

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Thornbury Castle

Thornbury Castle is an original Tudor manor house which once played host to King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.

Thornbury Castle in South Gloucestershire is an original Tudor manor house which now operates as a luxury hotel. Built in the early 16th century by Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham, Thornbury Castle soon passed into the possession of the crown after the Duke was executed for treason by... Read More

Toompea Castle

Toompea Castle in Tallinn has been a military and administrative stronghold for hundreds of years and now contains the Estonian Parliament - an interesting entry on any list of world castles.

Toompea Castle in Tallinn is the site of the Estonian Parliament and has been a central administrative and military centre for hundreds of years. The first recorded construction on the site of Toompea Castle was established in the 9th century AD, when a wooden castle was constructed ... Read More

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Trencin Castle

Among the more striking of the world’s castles, Trencin Castle was the main seat of aristocrat Matus Cak, Lord of the Vah and the Tatras.

Trencin Castle (Trenciansky hrad) is a dramatic cliff-top castle above the Vah River, not far from the Slovakian capital, Bratislava, which held royal status from the 11th century. It was also at this time that the main current castle was built. The first buildings on the site date from the Romanesque... Read More

Tsarevets Castle

Tsarevets Castle in Veliko Tarnovo is a medieval fortress and was the centre of the Second Bulgarian Empire. Today it is open to visitors and also hosts sound and light shows.

Tsarevets Castle in the Bulgarian city of Veliko Tarnovo is a medieval fortress complex and was the centre of the Second Bulgarian Empire, which ruled the region from the 12th to 14th centuries AD. First constructed on the site of an earlier Byzantine fort, by the late 12th century Tsarevets Castle... Read More

Tulum

Tulum is a cliff-top Maya castle in Mexico’s Quintana Roo region with some interesting and quite well preserved ruins.

Tulum is a Maya site in Mexico’s Quintana Roo region dating back to between the 13th and 16th centuries. At its peak, Tulum was quite a thriving walled city. Whilst relatively modest in comparison to, say Chichen Itza, Tulum does feature some interesting and quite well preserved ruins, including its castle,... Read More

Turku Castle

Turku Castle is a large medieval castle in Finland which is said to be Finland’s largest intact medieval building.

Turku Castle (Turun Linna) is a large medieval castle in Finland which has served as a stronghold as well as a granary and a prison. In fact, it is said to be Finland’s largest intact medieval building. Begun in approximately 1280, Turku Castle was constructed at a time when Finland,... Read More

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Tutbury Castle

Tutbury Castle is an imposing medieval site in Staffordshire which had one very famous prisoner, Mary Queen of Scots.

Tutbury Castle is an imposing medieval site in Staffordshire which had one very famous prisoner, Mary Queen of Scots. Whilst its history is said to date back to the 11th century, most of the ruins of Tutbury Castle seen today originate from the 14th and 15th centuries, under the remit... Read More

Van Castle

Van Castle was built in the Iron Age as part of the Urartu Kingdom and now stands as a stunning ruin in modern Turkey. Certainly ranks high among any list of picturesque castles of the world.

Van Castle (Van Kalesi) was an Iron Age castle which now stands as a stunning ruin on the rocks to the west of the modern city of Van. It was constructed as part of the Urartu Kingdom in the ninth century BC. Upon the fall of this kingdom in the... Read More

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Velia Archaeological Site

The Velia Archaeological Site contains an eleventh/twelfth century medieval castle, which is recognisable by its rounded towers and turrets.

The Velia Archaeological Site (Scavi di Velia) in Campania houses the remains of a Greek colony turned Roman municipality. Velia was originally founded by a Greek community as the colony of “Elea” in 540 BC. With the help of prominent citizens and philosophers Zeno and Parmenides (the latter having founded... Read More

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Vianden Castle

Vianden Castle in Luxembourg is a picturesque medieval castle which served as the home of the local counts.

Vianden Castle (Chateau De Vianden) in Luxembourg is a picturesque medieval castle begun in the eleventh century. Only completed in the fourteenth century, Vianden Castle became the home of the local counts and countesses. Interestingly, the site of Vianden Castle actually has a history dating back to Roman times,... Read More

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Vranduk

Vranduk is best known for its medieval castle which once served as the residence fot the fifteenth century Bosnian King Stjepan Tomas.

Vranduk in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a picturesque town best known for its medieval castle. Located approximately 10km north of Zenica, numerous preserved travelogues and manuscripts describe Vranduk as one of the most interesting, the most intriguing and the most resilient parts of Bosnia. An extensive history of Vranduk spans over two... Read More

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Warwick Castle

Built by a king, the seat of a kingmaker and vital stronghold in the Wars of the Roses and the English Civil War, Warwick Castle has played an important role in British history. One of many castles of the world that is now popular with tourists.

Built by a king, the seat of a kingmaker and vital stronghold in the Wars of the Roses and the English Civil War, Warwick Castle has played an important role in British history. Saxon Origins Before Warwick Castle’s existence, the site on which it sits was the location of... Read More

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Wawel Castle

Wawel Castle is an iconic fortified castle complex in Krakow and the former seat of the Polish monarchy.

Wawel Castle in Krakow is one of the most important historic sites in Poland. Located on Wawel Hill, which has been inhabited since the Paleolithic Age, Wawel Castle served as the seat of the Polish monarchy from the eleventh century and is now a vast museum. It was King Bolesław Chrobry... Read More

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Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle is the oldest occupied castle in the world as well as being one of the biggest castles in the world. It is the official home of the British monarchy.

Windsor Castle is the oldest occupied castle in the world. Covering an area of approximately 13 acres, it contains a wide range of interesting features. These include the State Apartments, Queen Mary’s dolls house and the beautiful St George’s Chapel. It is also the burial place of ten monarchs, including... Read More

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Yedikule Zindanlari

Near the top of any list of world castles, Yedikule Zindanlari is an impressive Byzantine and medieval fort in Istanbul.

Yedikule Zindanlari, also known as the Yedikule Fortress or the Castle of the Seven Towers, is an impressive Byzantine and medieval fort in Istanbul. Originally part of the Theodosian Wall, built by Theodosius II in the fifth century, Yedikule Fortress was added to over the centuries, including by Mehmet... Read More