The 10 most luxurious and fanciful ancient castles in the world

The ancient palaces around the world were not only the residence of royalty or nobility but also a source of inspiration for literary and cinematographic works.


Himeji Castle, Hyogo, Japan:

Himeji Castle is located in the center of Himeji, 650 km west of Tokyo. The castle was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1993 and is a special historical site of the nation. Himeji was built in 1346 and is considered to be the most typical medieval castle in Japan. The walls of the castle are made of wood and covered with white plaster to prevent fire, so Himeji is also known as White Crane Castle. 


Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany:

Located on a hill in Bavaria near the Austrian border, Neuschwanstein is the image of the royal castle in the fairytale. This ancient castle is also the inspiration for Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland and the Disney logo. Neuschwanstein was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, but he died before the work was completed. The castle has been open to the general public since 1886 and is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Europe with over 1.4 million visitors each year. 


Alnwick Castle, Northumberland, England:

Alnwick Castle was built after the British invasion of the Normans and was home to the Northumberland family for 700 years. The castle was chosen as the setting for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the movie Harry Potter. 


Hearst Castle, California, USA:

Hearst was inspired by the palaces and castles that William Randolph Hearst saw on a childhood trip to Europe. The castle was built on the Big Sur coast of California between Los Angeles Angeles and San Francisco, in the early 20th century in 28 years and is now a museum. 


Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland:

Built in the 13th century, Eilean Donan is now one of Scotland's most famous destinations. The castle was devastated after the Jacobite Revolution and was restored in 1932. In the 1980s Eilean Donan was known for his movie Highlander and became the inspiration for the castle in the animated Disney Princesses. 


Alcazar Castle, Segovia, Spain:

The Alcazar was also one of the inspirations for the castle in Disney's “Cinderella”. Climbing 152 stairs inside the Juan II tower, tourists will have a panoramic view of Segovia and the Old Town, which was recognized as a World Heritage Site. 


Mont Saint Michel, Normandy, France:

Mont Saint Michel is an island in Normandy, France, covering an area of about 100 hectares. By the end of 2009, the population of the island was 44 people. This is one of the most famous places in France with about 3 million visitors visiting each year. 


Bran Castle, Brasov, Romania:

Bran Castle is 200 km from Romania's capital, Bucharest. Irish writer Bram Stoker has never been to Bran, but the description of Bran Castle on the edge of a river inspired him to create one of the oldest literary figures such as Count Dracula of Transylvania. 


 Chillon Castle, Montreux, Switzerland:

Chillon Castle is located on the shores of Lake Geneva, 3 km from Montreux city, which attracts 350,000 tourists annually. The castle consists of 100 independent buildings that have been linked to become a unified area. Tourists have the opportunity to see the murals from the 14th century, the halls and bedrooms. The castle was also a famous prison that held Bonavard prisoners from 1530 to 1536. 


Hohenzollern Castle, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany:

The castle is located on Mount. Hohenzollern. The castle was built between 1846 and 1867. It was the first castle of the Hohenzollern family, from a small clan in the Schwaben region to a major force in Europe. 

By: Stephan Swift

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