Monday, November 9, 2015

Originating in Europe, a castle is an architectural innovation built by
nobility throughout the Middle Ages, usually as a private fortified
residence."There are 72 castles on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites,
some dating back as far as the 9th century, and surprisingly several of these
incredible historic buildings are still being used as homes."Castles come in
all different shapes and sizes.
With imposing crenelated walls, soaring
towers, and dramatic arched entranceways, no two palaces are the same."But the
one thing they all have in common is that they make incredible places to
visit."So whether you are looking for a majestic mountaintop fort, some rustic
ruins, or a sprawling manicured country palace, World traveling club Travel
has the answer.
Here is our list for the most spectacular castles in the
world:"1.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany"The iconic Neuschwanstein Castle
(Photo: Thomas Wolf/Wikimedia Commons)Despite being one of the newest castles
on the list, Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany is easily one of the most
visually dramatic.
This Bavarian beauty is perched on top of a rocky hill
overlooking the village of Hohenschwangau and was commissioned in 1869 by King
Ludwig the second of Bavaria, using his personal fortune.
A true fairy-tale
castle, the property is said to have been the inspiration for Disneyland"s
Sleeping Beauty Castle.
The castle has been open to the public since 1886 and
receives over a million visitors a year."2.
Corfe Castle, England"The ruins of
Corfe Castle (Photo: iStock)While the original buildings would have been
constructed of wood, the 11th century stone fortress was constructed on the
natural hilltop by William the Conquerer and for the next 600 years was used
as royal fortress by the British Monarchy.
While now in ruin, this captivating
site has 1,000 years worth of stories to tell."3.
Malbork, Poland"Malbork
Castle (Photo:"Arian Zwegers/Flickr)
The Castle of the Teutonic Order in
Malbork is the world"s largest castle by surface area and was built in the
13th century on the banks of the river Nogat by the Teutonic Knights —
an order of German Roman Catholic crusaders.
It is a classic example of a
Medieval fortress and has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site since
1997.
Used by the knights as a fortified monastery, it has been expanded and
restored over the centuries and is now one of Poland"s historic national
monuments."4.
Mont Saint-Michel, France"The striking"Mont Saint-Michel (Photo:
iStock)Perched high on a small island commune and surrounded by sits the
breathtaking Gothic style Benedictine abbey of Saint Michel, whose monastery
has occupied the position since the 8th century.
The island is situated just
600 meters from the Normandy mainland and linked by a tidal causeway across
the sandbanks.
At high tide, the water rises up to 14 feet, flooding the
surrounding area and completely cutting the island off.
Just 50 people live on
the island, including the monks, but over 3 million visit the site each
year."5.
Hohensalzburg Castle, Austria"Hohensalzburg Castle and the
surrounding city (Photo: iStock)Looming high over the city of Salzburg, this
spectacular fortress is one of the largest fortifications in
Europe.
Construction on the original building began in 1077 but was expanded
upon over the next few centuries.
In the 16th century, a primitive funicular
railway was constructed, providing freight access to the property, and it is
still in existence today, making it the oldest operational railroad in the
world.
In the early 20th century the castle was actually used as a prison,
housing Italian POWs during World War I."Related: Pretend You"re A Princess:
Stay in the Most Beautiful Palace and Castle Hotels in the World
6.
Kilkenny
Castle, Ireland"Kilkenny Castle (Photo: iStock)This incredible architectural
masterpiece was built in 1195 by the first Earl of Pembroke as a stronghold to
protect the local town.
In 1391, the castle was bought by a prominent local
family — the Butlers, who ruled the surrounding area and lived in the
home until 1935.
That"s over 500 years that the house belonged to one
family.
During the rest of the last century, the castle was completely
restored and opened to the public."Related: Stay in the Most Lavish Castle in
Ireland
7.
Alcazar of Segovia, SpainThe"Alcazar of Segovia is straight out of
a fairy tale (Photo: iStock)This magical Spanish castle is truly a thing of
fairy tales, acting as the inspiration for Disney"s Cinderella
castle.
Constructed mostly in the 12th century, the structure was home to the
monarchs of the Kingdom of Castile and also housed the parliament.
After the
royal court moved to Madrid at the end of the 16th century, the castle acted
as a prison for almost 200 years before being converted into the Royal
Artillery School in 1762.
Today the property is a heritage site and
museum."8.
Prague Castle, Czech Republic"The supremely impressive Prague
Castle (Photo: Getty Images)Prague Castle is arguably the most significant
monument in the Czech Republic and according to the Guinness Book of World
Records, is the largest castle complex on Earth" — at over
70,000m2.
The huge collection of palaces and ecclesiastical buildings began
their construction back around the 9th century with additions made over the
next 500 years.
It has been the home of kings, Roman emperors, and most
recently the presidents of the Czech Republic.
The Bohemian Crown Jewels are
also stored within the walls."Related: Absinthe in Prague: A Drinking Tour
Through the Czech Republic
9.
Caernarfon Castle, Wales"The ultra
dreamy"Caernarfon Castle (Photo: Getty Images)This monstrous stone fortress
has been incredibly well preserved and is an excellent example of military
architecture erected during the colonization throughout the reign of King
Edward I.
The first fort on the site was built by the Romans but the main
stone structure, most of which is still standing, was constructed at the
beginning of the 13th century.
It has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since
1986 and now houses the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum."10.
Kronborg Castle,
DenmarkYou can even have a fairy-tale wedding at Kronborg Castle (Photo:
iStock)
One of the most iconic Renaissance castles in the world, Kronborg
Castle was built as a fortress in the early 15th century by King Eric VII to
control the entrance to the Baltic Sea.
Between 1574 and 1585, Kind Frederic
II had the construction dramatically changed into the magnificent palace that
stands today.
It was used as a Royal residence until 1785 when it became
barracks for the army before being opened to the public in the 1920"s.
The
castle now hosts a very popular renaissance festival, Christmas markets, even
weddings."11.
Krak des Chevaliers, Syria "The dramatic Krak des Chevaliers
(Photo:"Frederic Soltan/Sygma/Corbis)
This almost perfectly preserved
crusader castle is arguably one of the most important medieval castles in the
world.
First inhabited in the 11th century, it was gifted to the Knights
Hospitaller by Raymond II, the Count of Tripoli, and was used as a center for
administration and as a military base.
At its peak, it was home to over 2,000
soldiers and was an impenetrable stronghold in a volatile region."In recent
years, it has sadly become inaccessible due to the Syrian Civil War with
reports of damage due to shelling occurring in 2012.
The castle is listed as a
UNESCO World Heritage Site but is registered as one of the 48 world sites
‘in danger.""Related: When You Can"t Go Home: My Last Visit to Syria
Before ISIS
12.
Windsor Castle, England"The picturesque Windsor Castle
(Photo:"Jack Pease/Flickr)
The longest-occupied castle in Europe, Windsor
Castle has been a royal residence for the English, and later British monarchy
since its construction in the 11th century.
First occupied by King Henry I, it
is now the preferred weekend residence of the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth
II.
There are over 500 people who live and work on the property, which is used
for state banquets and official royal entertaining." It is also one of the
UK"s most popular tourist attractions, receiving hundreds of thousands of
visitors a year."13.
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland"The picture-perfect Edinburgh
Castle (Photo: Calvin YC/Flickr)While archeologists can prove human occupation
on Castle Rock as far back as the 2nd century, Edinburgh Castle was not built
on the hilltop until during the reign of David I, in the 12th century.
The
castle was a Royal residence from then until 1603, when it became a barracks
and garrison.
Historians claim there is proof of 26 sieges throughout the
castle"s 1,100-year history, making it the "most besieged place in Great
Britain." The castle is now Scotland"s most visited tourist attraction, with
over 1.4 million guests a year passing through the gates.

WATCH: How to
Vacation Like a Disney Princess
Let World traveling club Travel inspire you
every day.
Hang out with us on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, and
Pinterest.
Check out our original adventure travel series, "A Broad Abroad."
Originating in Europe, a castle is an architectural innovation built by
nobility throughout the Middle Ages, usually as a private fortified
residence.  There are 72 castles on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites,
some dating back as far as the 9th century, and surprisingly several of these
incredible historic buildings are still being used as homes.  Castles come in
all different shapes and sizes.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany  The iconic
Neuschwanstein Castle (Photo: Thomas Wolf/Wikimedia Commons) Despite being one
of the newest castles on the list, Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany is easily
one of the most visually dramatic.
A true fairy-tale castle, the property is
said to have been the inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty
Castle.
The castle has been open to the public since 1886 and receives over a
million visitors a year.  2..7.
Alcazar of Segovia, SpainThe"Alcazar of
Segovia is straight out of a fairy tale (Photo: iStock)This magical Spanish
castle is truly a thing of fairy tales, acting as the inspiration for Disney"s
Cinderella castle.
Constructed mostly in the 12th century, the structure was
home to the monarchs of the Kingdom of Castile and also housed the
parliament.
After the royal court moved to Madrid at the end of the 16th
century, the castle acted as a prison for almost 200 years before being
converted into the Royal Artillery School in 1762.
Today the property is a
heritage site and museum."8.
Prague Castle, Czech Republic"The supremely
impressive Prague Castle (Photo: Getty Images)Prague Castle is arguably the
most significant monument in the Czech Republic and according to the Guinness
Book of World Records, is the largest castle complex on Earth" — at
over 70,000m2.
The huge collection of palaces and ecclesiastical buildings
began their construction back around the 9th century with additions made over
the next 500 years.
It has been the home of kings, Roman emperors, and most
recently the presidents of the Czech Republic.
The Bohemian Crown Jewels are
also stored within the walls."Related: Absinthe in Prague: A Drinking Tour
Through the Czech Republic
9.
Caernarfon Castle, Wales"The ultra
dreamy"Caernarfon Castle (Photo: Getty Images)This monstrous stone fortress
has been incredibly well preserved and is an excellent example of military
architecture erected during the colonization throughout the reign of King
Edward I.
The first fort on the site was built by the Romans but the main
stone structure, most of which is still standing, was constructed at the
beginning of the 13th century.
It has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since
1986 and now houses the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum."10.
Kronborg Castle,
DenmarkYou can even have a fairy-tale wedding at Kronborg Castle (Photo:
iStock)
One of the most iconic Renaissance castles in the world, Kronborg
Castle was built as a fortress in the early 15th century by King Eric VII to
control the entrance to the Baltic Sea.
Between 1574 and 1585, Kind Frederic
II had the construction dramatically changed into the magnificent palace that
stands today.
It was used as a Royal residence until 1785 when it became
barracks for the army before being opened to the public in the 1920"s.
The
castle now hosts a very popular renaissance festival, Christmas markets, even
weddings."11.
Krak des Chevaliers, Syria "The dramatic Krak des Chevaliers
(Photo:"Frederic Soltan/Sygma/Corbis)
This almost perfectly preserved
crusader castle is arguably one of the most important medieval castles in the
world.
First inhabited in the 11th century, it was gifted to the Knights
Hospitaller by Raymond II, the Count of Tripoli, and was used as a center for
administration and as a military base.
At its peak, it was home to over 2,000
soldiers and was an impenetrable stronghold in a volatile region."In recent
years, it has sadly become inaccessible due to the Syrian Civil War with
reports of damage due to shelling occurring in 2012.
The castle is listed as a
UNESCO World Heritage Site but is registered as one of the 48 world sites
‘in danger.""Related: When You Can"t Go Home: My Last Visit to Syria
Before ISIS
12.
Windsor Castle, England"The picturesque Windsor Castle
(Photo:"Jack Pease/Flickr)
The longest-occupied castle in Europe, Windsor
Castle has been a royal residence for the English, and later British monarchy
since its construction in the 11th century.
First occupied by King Henry I, it
is now the preferred weekend residence of the current monarch, Queen Elizabeth
II.
There are over 500 people who live and work on the property, which is used
for state banquets and official royal entertaining." It is also one of the
UK"s most popular tourist attractions, receiving hundreds of thousands of
visitors a year."13.
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland"The picture-perfect Edinburgh
Castle (Photo: Calvin YC/Flickr)While archeologists can prove human occupation
on Castle Rock as far back as the 2nd century, Edinburgh Castle was not built
on the hilltop until during the reign of David I, in the 12th century.
The
castle was a Royal residence from then until 1603, when it became a barracks
and garrison.
Historians claim there is proof of 26 sieges throughout the
castle"s 1,100-year history, making it the "most besieged place in Great
Britain." The castle is now Scotland"s most visited tourist attraction, with
over 1.4 million guests a year passing through the gates.

WATCH: How to
Vacation Like a Disney Princess
Let World traveling club Travel inspire you
every day.
Hang out with us on Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, and
Pinterest.
Check out our original adventure travel series, "A Broad
Abroad."Originating in Europe, a castle is an architectural innovation built
by nobility throughout the Middle Ages, usually as a private fortified
residence.  There are 72 castles on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites,
some dating back as far as the 9th century, and surprisingly several of these
incredible historic buildings are still being used as homes.  Castles come in
all different shapes and sizes.
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany  The iconic
Neuschwanstein Castle (Photo: Thomas Wolf/Wikimedia Commons) Despite being one
of the newest castles on the list, Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany is easily
one of the most visually dramatic.
A true fairy-tale castle, the property is
said to have been the inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty
Castle.
The castle has been open to the public since 1886 and receives over a
million visitors a year.  2.

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