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World’s most amazing castles

World’s most amazing castles

By definition, a castle is a fortified structured built by nobility. This differs from a palace that was not equipped with defence structures, and a fortress, which was not a residential space for nobility. Generally, a castle was used to both defend the people inside and it was used as a platform on which to attack the approaching enemy. A popular defence mechanism was the moat; a deep ditch surrounding the castle, filled with water. Although castles originated in Europe, there are castles around the world that serve the same or similar purposes.

Warwick Castle, England

The Old English word “castle” derives from the Latin word for “fortified place.” Generally, this “fortified place” is a private residence. In England, the lords who stayed in castles would govern from within these fortified structures. Castles became administration spaces that both protected those in power and offered them a space within to plan and attack. One such example is the medieval Warwick Castle in England. Built by William the Conqueror in 1068, it remained in use until the 17th century after which the surrounding land had been made into gardens. The castle transformed into a tourist attraction in the 1970s and now is a protected monument.

Castle of Good Hope, South Africa

The Castle of Good Hope is the oldest colonial building in South Africa that still stands today. The Dutch East India Company built it in the mid to late 1600s, while travelling from Europe, around Africa, to India, as a halfway station in South Africa, where travelers could stock up and rest. Because of its role in trade, this part of South Africa was called the Cape of Good Hope. In the 1670s, the Castle of Good Hope was the main centre of administration and military activities, until development in the area increased and spread. Today, the castle is still used by the military and it houses a military museum.

Edinburgh Castle of Scotland, UK

Castles in Scotland date back to as early as the 11th and 12th centuries. One such castle is the Edinburgh Castle of Scotland, which had been a royal residence since the 12th century. This historical icon dominates the area’s skyline and can be seen from just about anywhere in the surrounds. Because of this, the castle was subject to many attacks in earlier years. It stands on an inactive volcano called Castle Rock, making it seem even more imposing and impressive. Today the government and the army maintain and protect this monument. Although it is a conservation site, it is accessible to tourists. If you are planning a trip to this castle, be sure to go just before lunchtime; an old One O’Clock Gun fires at precisely 13:00 every day except on Sundays.


Dracula’s Castle, Romania

Bran Castle, more popularly known as Dracula’s Castle is a favorite of many who wish to relive the stories of the mysterious Count. Built in 1212, it is believed to have been named after a tyrannous ruler from the 15th century, Vlad III Dracul. His ruthless reign of terror far exceeds that of Bram Stoker’s fictional character, Dracula. The town of Bran markets this connection between the castle and Dracula, making the castle a national landmark. Today it is a museum and popular tourist attraction.

Pena National Palace, Portugal

The Pena National Palace in Portugal is a prime example of how practicality and aesthetics can come together in one structure. This palace was built in the 19th century Romanticism style as a royal retreat in 1854 until its purchase by the Portuguese state in 1889, after which it became one of the most popular monuments in Portugal. It is one of the seven wonders of Portugal as well as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Castles, fortresses and palaces all have something in common: palaces house royalty and fortresses act as protection from enemy attacks, but castles combine both of these functions.

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