5 most beautiful castles in Europe and beyond

5 most beautiful castles in Europe and beyond

When traveling to other countries, we can't ignore nature and architecture. And if the landscape in the same latitudes is similar, the appearance of buildings will differ even in neighboring countries.

Castles remain one of the oldest historical monuments. Built as fortresses and residences of rulers, they served as a reliable protection against enemy raids and confirmed the status of their owner. Today, their majestic monumental walls no longer perform their former functions, but are attractive to tourists.

Neuschwanstein, Germany

This fortress was built in Bavaria in the XIX century by king Ludwig II. Despite its medieval appearance with Gothic elements of towers and decoration, the castle remains quite modern. Since the monarch was a great admirer of Wagner, many of the interiors were created based on the operas of the legendary composer.

The most interesting thing is that the interiors of Neuschwanstein were equipped with the most modern technologies at that time: air heating and even toilets with automatic flushing systems. And this is almost two hundred years ago!

Behind the walls is a stunning garden with an artificial cave, and the building itself rises on a mountain surrounded by dense forests. The fabulous view of the castle attracts more than 1 million tourists every year, so be prepared to compete for the best points for photos.

Hohensalzburg, Austria

This fortress is located, as you might guess, near Salzburg. Construction began in 1077 by Archbishop Gebhard I of Salzburg. Since then, the castle has been rebuilt and expanded many times. Around 1500, the world's first funicular was built here, and still, by the way, this type of transport remains one of the two ways to get to the castle.

In its long history, Hohensalzburg was besieged only once, and not even by an enemy army, but by angry peasants and workers who wanted to overthrow the ruling Duke. The walls withstood the raid, and the garrison entrenched inside held out for 61 days until the uprising subsided.

Inside the castle is a Museum that stores exhibits on the military history of Austria and artifacts from different eras of development and formation of the city.

Alcazar in Segovia, Spain

Alcazar, as many might think, is not the name of a particular fortress, but a common name for many castles in Spain and Portugal. Due to the large number of alcazars, they are supplemented by their geographical affiliation. This is much easier than coming up with names after so much time.

The Segovia Alcazar dates back to 1120, although archaeologists claim that the first structures existed on its site in ancient Roman times. The castle stands on a cliff and for a long time was the residence of the Spanish monarchs, being both a defensive structure and a Palace.

Today, under the arches is a Museum that stores a large collection of interiors, weapons, portraits of rulers and other exhibits.

Marienburg, Poland

The castle at the base of the city of the same name is a common medieval practice. However, the fortress in Malbork is not as simple as it seems. This is the largest fully brick castle in Europe, built by the Teutonic knights and remained their residence for a long time.

Only at the initial stage of construction from 1278 to 1280, the knights used 4.5 million (!) bricks. Over time, the fortress changed owners many times, until it finally came under the control of Poland.

During the second world war, only ruins remained of the majestic walls, the Cathedral and the fortress itself, the reconstruction of which took more than a decade. Only in 2016, with the joint efforts of several countries, the castle was fully restored.

Today it is a world heritage site and is protected by UNESCO.

Himeji, Japan

Against the background of European castles, Japanese stands out. This is not surprising, given how different the cultures of these two parts of the world are. Nevertheless, in the land of the rising Sun, castles performed the same functions as on the continent — in this they are similar.

Himeji castle, also called white swan castle, is a majestic ensemble in Hyogo Prefecture, consisting of 85 structures. The beauty of the walls, the high stone Foundation, decorative elements and fortifications — all this became part of the traditional Japanese architecture of the following centuries.

For a long time, the castle passed from one warring clan to another, until it fell into the hands of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who restored the walls and buildings. During his reign, a maze garden was laid out around Himeji, which never passed the test in battle.

Today, the complex is one of the most popular tourist routes in Japan, so you will probably have to jostle with others who want to look at the Palace towers, but it is definitely worth it.

Looking at such structures, you understand the meaning of the proverb “my home is my fortress". The construction of castles in the middle ages was an urgent necessity, but even then people found the opportunity to add a bit of beauty to them, for which we are grateful to them today. Fortresses of the XXI century have greatly decreased in size, got wheels, a motor, but still protect their owners from external threats. Choose a safe and comfortable car and hit the road immediately.

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