Castles were made worldwide and were once built by kings and queens to protect their armies and people. They were the perfect example of wealth and power. Some of these castles were built in spectacular strategic settings that stood the test of time. Let’s explore the 10 most beautiful castles in the world that continue to amaze the world with their spectacular scenery and splendid architecture.
Best Castles Around the World to Visit
Citadel of Qaitbay in Alexandria, Egypt
The Citadel of Qaitbay was built in 1477 by Sultan Al-Ashraf Qaitbay after learning that the Ottoman troops were advancing towards Alexandria. It is located on the Mediterranean Sea and the castle was built cleverly by workers who utilized the plans laid out on the fall Pharos Lighthouse ruins. This was where the workers built the red granite columns by salvaging the pieces of the previous structure in the mosque along with the entrance.
Although the Ottoman Empire was able to capture Egypt but the Citadel was still functioning as a military fort. Then, the British bombardment in 1882 led to its capture. Back then, the castle was left as it is for nearly a century until the Supreme Council of Egypt stepped in and planned to rebuild the entire castle so that it returns to its original glory.
Matsumoto Castle in Matsumoto, Japan
The Matsumoto Castle located in Japan was built in 1504 by the Ogasawara clan to fight against other invaders. It wasn’t long until Takeda Shingen a powerful warlord of the time overtook it. The castle functioned as a military fortification. Following the capture, the castle underwent multiple handovers, resulting in a change of design over the years. Today, it features a three-tower tall structure with roofs and walls painted inky black.
The color combination also earned it the name “the Crow Castle”. Then, in 1872, the castle was in trouble as the local management planned to demolish it to build new complexes on the site. However, the Matsumoto residents protested the idea, and eventually, the government took ownership of the castle. It is perceived as a national treasure of Japan and is a representation of the daimyos castles.
Bojnice Castle in Bojnice, Slovakia
The Bojnice Castle is said to have been originally built as a wooden castle back in 1113 according to the Zobor Alley records. It was a time when wood was more popular than stone but eventually stone took over and by the 12th century, the castle boasted Renaissance and Gothic elements.
It is said that King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary and Croatia might not have been the first owners but planned to invest in its future. The ruler would visit the small city and instruct his workers under a tree on the grounds that are named after him.
As the castle changed hands, the construction never stopped until Count Janos Ferenc Palffy took over. The ruler added his ideas and made the castle look like a dream by placing an impeccable collection of artwork, tapestries, and antiques. The Bojnice Castle is one of the most beautiful castles in the world today and receives thousands of tourists each year.
Fasil Ghebbi in Gondar, Ethiopia
Emperor Fasilides built the Fasil Ghebbi Castle in 1636. The castle was a part of his plan that involved breaking the past traditions and founding a new capital city named Gondar. Prior to the castle, the Emperors would move through the territories and survive on the food provided by the locals and lived in tents. Therefore, the construction of the castle gave birth to change in Ethiopia
The Castle is home to the royal family and includes libraries, gardens, and swimming pools. The castle continued to progress in terms of architectural changes but it was the grandson of Fasilides who installed gem-encrusted ceilings and ivory sculptures often mentioned in the archival documents.
Chateau de Chenonceau in Chenonceaux France
The Chateau de Chenonceau is a castle that was built in the 11th century. Over the years, the castle had undergone many changes and renovations but it was the mistress of Henry II who hired Philibert de l’Orme to include the arched bridge. Surrounded by manicured gardens, the castle looks as if it is floating above the flowers and the greenery that surrounds it.
The fate of the castle was such that it mostly fell in the hands of powerful women, including Catherine de’ Medici who made the castle her favorite residence. It is said that there was not a single night when Catherine was not hosting guests with her impeccable hosting skills. Historians also believe that the first fireworks also took place in the castle when Catherine’s son was promoted as king. However, the castle suffered significant damage during World War II. However, the Menier family hired Bernard Voisin to help restore the castle to its original state.
Nakhal Fort in Nakhal, Oman
The Nakhal Fort in Oman features an irregular shape. The reason is that the original Nakhal Fort was built at the foot of Mount Nakhal around a large boulder. The fort was built to protect the trade routes from any looters and with time grew enough to have residential spaces, mosques, and reception halls.
Another key feature of the castle was the hidden nooks from where the troops would pour hot date juice over the invaders. Today, the castle welcomes tourists all year round and showcases historical artifacts.
Pena National Palace in Sintra, Portugal
The Pena National Palace in Sintra is a perfect example of romanticism in Portugal. It highlights Middle Eastern influence and was designed by King Ferdinand II on a hill in the Sintra mountains. Back then, the castle was intended for the Portuguese royal family.
The castle features a combination of different shades that mark different areas such as the red clock tower. The Portuguese royal family regularly used the castle until 1910 when the Revolution took place and the royal family was overthrown. Since then it was left unattended for years until it was restored in the 20th century and declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Neuschwanstein Castle in Schwangau, Germany
The Neuschwanstein Castle was built in 1868 by King Ludwig II to escape from the political turbulence and public eye. The Austro-Prussian war led to Austria and Bavaria being captured. As a result, the king was stripped of his power but still planned to own a kingdom to rule.
The King then wrote a letter to his long-time friend Richard Wagner describing his vision of the castle and that he would like to welcome him. The kind passed away before the castle could be completed and was opened for the public in 1886.
Castel del Monte in Adria, Italy
Nobody knows why Castel del Monte was built. What we do know is that Emperor Frederik II built it in 1240. Plus, the castle did not include any protection and is located in southern Italy. Upon the completion of the castle, the Emperor left it without any intentions on record.
The castle features eight trapezoidal rooms with towers at each corner. Historians believe that the geometrical layout was intended to highlight the relationship between God and humanity.
Frederiksborg Castle in Hilleroad, Denmark
King Christian IV built the Frederiksborg Castle to showcase his power and rule over Norway and Denmark. It remained an official royal residence for around 100 years until a fire in 1859 destroyed the castle.
The damage was such that only the audience chamber along with the chapel survived and a nationwide call was made to collect the funds for its renovation. Soon after the royal family decided that they no longer wanted to stay there, the castle reopened as a Museum of National History in 1878.
Each castle based on history and features stands out from the rest. There was a time when these splendid architectures were home to some of the most powerful and wealthy individuals in history. While some were destroyed and rebuilt, others were preserved by UNESCO. Either way, these castles are perfect representations of their respective regions and hold the key to what otherwise remains unknown.