Any one from any where is fascinated with marvelous castles and palaces. There is the grandeur, the history, and the magic behind the great structures that always keep us in awe.
We list down the most wonderful palaces and castles. We might not be able to see all of them in our travels but knowing about them is a good start.
Potala Palace (Lhasa, Tibet)
The Potala Palace is atop the Marpo Ri Hill overlooking the Lhasa Valley. At 170 meters, Potala can be considered as the most monumental structure you will see in all of Tibet. Emperor Songsten Gampo commissioned the construction of the palace back in 637 and it lasted until the 17th century.
The construction of the palace we see today started back in 1645 during the rule of the 5th Dalai Lama and the White Palace or Potrang Karpo was completed after three years. The Red Palace or the Potrang Marpo was added through 1690 and 1694 utilizing the skills of about 7,000 workers and craftsmanship of about 1,500 artists. The Potala Palace did not take a major damage during the uprising of Tibet against the invading forces from China back in 1959. It was not overpowered by the Red Guards, like other religious structures in Tibet, during the clashes of the 1960’s and 1970’s. All of the artifacts and chapels at the Potala Palace are well preserved.
Mont Saint Michel (Normandy Coast, France)
The Mont Saint Michel is located on a small island near Brittany along the Normandy coast. When the water swells on a high tide, the quasi-island appears to be totally separated from the main landmass. A causeway was built during the 1880s to preserve the connection to the mainland.
You have to be careful and not try to go via the sandy bay since the tides come in really fast and there have been stories of tourists drowning while attempting to cross.
Mont St. Michel castle served as a monastery unlike other medieval castles in France which served as pleasure palaces or as defensive structures.
Around 4 million visitors flock to this corner of France. The castle has been featured in movies, video games, and animations.
Predjamski Castle (Slovenia)
The Predjamski Castle is a really unique structure being integrated with a cave. The humble castle is linked to one of the largest cave systems in Slovenia. The name Predjamski Grad actually means castle “in front” of a cave.
The earliest record about the construction of this rather small castle dates back not too long ago, the 13th century with its first half built during the 12th century. The middle portion of the castle was built during the renaissance and in 1570, the right wing was completed.
The restoration of the Predjamski castle started in 1990 and the efforts of restoring its 16th century look continue.
Neuschwanstein Castle (Germany)
The Neuschwanstein Castle tops of the bill of three palaces constructed for Bavaria’s Louis II also known before as the Mad King Ludwig. The castle is located in the Bavarian Alps in Germany. The construction Neuschwanstein started in 1869 but it was still unfinished when Louis II died in 1886.
The Neuschwanstein is a symbol of the romanticism of the 19th century. It is a picturesque structure with spires and towers overlooking the Pullat River.
The castle made use of a very modern design during its time. The techniques can be considered very revolutionary back then. The palace had running water on all of its floors and the toilets had an automatic flushing system. It also has a heating system for the air coming through the castle. If you are familiar with the castle in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, that was modeled after the Neuschwanstein.
Matsumoto Castle (Japan)
Locally known as the Matsumotojo, this is the most wonderful castles in Japan. Its structure is among the most complete of the country’s original castles. The Matsumoto Castle is also a good example of a Hirajiro or a palace on a plain instead of being on a mountain or hilltop.
The castle’s turret and tower were constructed between 1592 and 1614. These served as good defensive positions since peace was not secured yet during that time. A third turret was added in 1635 for the specific purpose of viewing the moon.
Hunyad Castle (Romania)
The Hunyad Castle located in Hunedoara, Romania used to be part of Translvania. According to stories, this also served as the detention house for Vlad II of Wallachia. We are more familiar with the name Dracula for that guy.
The Gothic style palace is a relic from the Hunyadi dynasty. It also has a mix of Renaissance and Baroque style architecture. The structure is really imposing with its diverse roofs, really tall walls and towers, countless windows, balconies, and stone carvings.
The Malbork Castle was constructed by the Teutonic Order in Prussia. The order was called Marienburg which literally means Mary’s Castle. In 1945 though, after almost two centuries, the town was again part of Poland and was known as Malbork.
The palace is a good example of an architecture that serves as a fortress. It is the biggest gothic castle made of bricks. It was declared as a World Heritage site by the UNESCo back in 1997.
Palacio da Pena (Portugal)
This National Palace of Pena is located on top of a hill in Sintra. If you are in Lisbon, you will actually be able to see it if the sky is quite clear. This castle is considered as the oldest one getting inspiration from the Romantic era of Europe. The construction started in 15th century but it was later rebuilt and donated to serve as a church and a monastery.
A strong earthquake in Portugal back 1755 ruined most of the structure. Prince Fernando was able to acquire the Palacio da Pena and rebuilt in 1838.
The architectural style of the castle is a mixed of Romantic, Moorish, and Bavarian. It also has an English garden.
Lowenburg Castle (Germany)
The Lowenburg Castle sits amid the Wilhelmshohe Hill Park in Kassel. It really looks like a medieval structure but this palace was commissioned by Landgrave Wilhelm IX and constructed from 1793 to 1821. The Walt Disney of his time looked at its as romantic ruins. Langraves building inspector had to go to England to study major romantic ruins and plan this garden folly.
The castle is considered today as among the most important buildings of its time aside from it being the first new Gothic buildings.
The Guinness Book of Records tag the Prague Castle as the largest ancient castle. It is approximately 570 meters long and around 130 meters wide. The castle served as the office of Roman Emperors, Czech royalties, and presidents of the Czech Republick. The Crown Jewels of Czech are also housed here.
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