10 Most Popular Castles in the World
Castles fascinate us. They are mysterious and romantic, intimidating yet inviting. They represent a classic beauty that can rarely be found in any other existing historical structure. They bring to mind visions of knights and ladies-in-waiting, sword fighting and joust tournaments, royal feasts and masquerade balls. Best of all, they take us back to the time when gallantry, honor and fidelity weren't just found in fairy tales.
Below are 10 of the world's most popular castles.
#1 Neuschwanstein Castle
Located in Germany, Neuschwanstein Castle is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It is said that this 19th century Bavarian palace served as the inspiration behind Sleeping Beauty's Castle in Disneyland.
#2 Windsor Castle
Within the region of England, Scotland and Ireland is where one can find Windsor Castle – the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen of England. It is the oldest and largest continuously inhabited castle in history.
#3 Edinburgh Castle
Scotland’s Edinburgh Castle is said to be the country’s most powerful symbol, for two reasons: it sits atop an extinct volcano called Castle Rock, and it is where much of Scotland's historical past took place.
#4 Prague Castle
Prague Castle in the Czech Republic is the largest castle in the world. It is both a historical and cultural attraction: within its walls one can find various museums and monuments set in almost every architectural style of the last millennium.
#5 Tower of London
Also in England, the Tower of London is best known for being the home of the Crown Jewels. This medieval structure is believed to be one of the most haunted castles in the country, if not the world.
#6 Hearst Castle
Previously owned by the late newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, this twentieth century palatial estate in the United States was later donated to the state of California, and is now a world renowned historic park.
#7 Leeds Castle
Again in England,
is set in the middle of an artificial lake, and is recognized as one of the
most romantic of all medieval structures. Many consider the place to be the perfect venue for weddings or honeymoons.
#8 Himeji Castle
Himeji Castle in Japan was built at a time when war was always a threat. It was nicknamed the White Heron Castle due to its brilliant white painted exterior; this was merely white fireproof plaster – more for necessity than beauty, since all 83 structures within the castle were made of wood.
#9 Mont Saint-Michel
Mont Saint-Michel in France is actually the name of the tidal island community wherein the castle is located. At present, the region is an acknowledged World Heritage Site under UNESCO, being recognized as a site of cultural, historical and architectural significance.
#10 Krak des Chevaliers
Considering that it was built in the 11th century, the Krak des Chevalier or “Fortress of Knights” in Syria is still well-preserved. Because of this, it has been universally acclaimed as the most fortified castle in history.
Bonus: Alnwick Castle
For the sake of movie buffs, I’m including England’s Alnwick Castle, the site of the “Harry Potter” series’ Hogwarts. It didn’t exactly make the top ten list, but it’s famous nevertheless.