Castles were first built for safety and protection. As castles began to flourish, they also showed the owner`s wealth and power. The first castles were built simply from dirt and wood and stood on high ground to make it easier to defend. Homes were later added inside some of the castles. To reinforce the castles, they began to build them from stone and brick.
Castles are a reminder of an older and mystical time. They remind us of the tales of great kings, knights "in shiny armor," wizards and a great battles. They let us sit back and think of not only how they were built, but also how the people of the time lived. After 1,000 years since they were first built, many still stand today for us to visit and be in awe of architecture that mankind developed.
The Normans from France were the first to build castles that were made of dirt and wood. they were called, Motte and Bailey Castles. The term motte and bailey castle comes from Norman French words for mound and enclosed land.
Neuschwanstein Castle is a nineteenth-century palace built on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. It was built as a retreat and as a homage to Richard Wagner by Ludwig II of Bavaria. The palace was intended as a personal refuge for the king.
Caerlaverock Castle has that familiar castle surrounded by a moat look. It was first built in the 13th century. It is located on the southern coast of Scotland, on the edge of the Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve. Caerlaverock was a stronghold of the Maxwell family from the 13th century until the 17th century when the castle was abandoned.
Hohensalzburg Castle is translated into English as, "High Salzburg Fortress." The castle sits atop the Festungsberg, a small hill in the Austrian city of Salzburg. It is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe.
Eltz Castle, or the German translation, Burg Eltz, is a medieval castle that was built in the hills above the Moselle River between Koblenz and Trier, Germany. It is still owned by a branch of the same family (the Eltz family) that lived there in the 12th century,
The Château de Suscinio or de Susinio is a French castle, built in beginning of the 13th century. It is a moated castle and was the residence of the Dukes of Brittany. It is located in the commune of Sarzeau in the département of Morbihan, near the coast of the Atlantic ocean. It was designed to be a place of leisure.The castle was fortified and enlarged, at the end of 14th century, when the heirs of the duchy had to fight to keep their lands.
Hohenwerfen Castle (German: Burg Hohenwerfen) stands above the Austrian town of Werfen. The castle is surrounded by the Berchtesgaden Alps. The castle was built between 1075 and 1078 by the order of Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg. Formerly the castle belonged to the Habsburg family of Austria , currently, their relatives The House of Sforza, Count Andreis reside within it.
The castle's history started in the Middle Ages when a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of Pena was built on the top of the hill above Sintra. According to tradition, construction occurred after an apparition of the Virgin Mary.
One of the most famous castles in the world is Windsor Castle. It is the residence of the Roayal Family od England. The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror. Windsor Castle is owned by Queen Elizabeth II
Hohenzollern Castle is the ancestral seat of the imperial House of Hohenzollern. It has gone through 3 changes since first constructed in the 11th century. The final castle was built between 1846 and 1867. It is the most visited castle in Germany.
The Alcázar of Segovia began as an Arab fort, which itself was built on a Roman fort. It has served as a royal palace, a state prison, a Royal Artillery College and a military academy since then. It is currently used as a museum and a military archives building.
Le Mont-Saint-Michel or Saint Michael's Mount, is an island commune in Normandy, France.The island has held strategic fortifications since ancient times and since the 8th century AD has been the seat of the monastery from which it draws its name. According to legend, the archangel Michael appeared in 708 to Aubert of Avranches, the bishop of Avranches, and instructed him to build a church on the rocky islet. Aubert repeatedly ignored the angel's instruction until Michael burned a hole in the bishop's skull with his finger.
Camelot the castle associated with the legendary King Arthur. Most scholars regard it as being entirely fictional. It brings up the stories of The Knights of the Round Table. However, no direct evidence has been provided to show it actually existed.
The castle has a long association with legends related to King Arthur. Local tradition, founded largely on the writings of Geoffrey of Monmouth in his twelfth-century History of the Kings of Britain, claims this is the birthplace of King Arthur. The ruins of the castle, dates back to the twelfth or thirteenth centuries.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, Prague Castle is the largest ancient castle in the world. From its beginnings in the 9th century, the castle was a seat of power for kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman emperors, and presidents of Czechoslovakia. It is the official residence of the President of the Czech Republic.