Ever wanted to be a Prince or a Princess and live in a gigantic castle? Not one of those old, scary, haunted castles, one of the magical ones, like from a Disney film. Well here they are. The most amazing castles in the world. Huge, decadent and even possibly a little bit magical.
Lichtenstein Castle located in Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany is everything a good castle should be. Grand, picturesque and awe-inspiring. This castle was destroyed twice during the 1300’s and not rebuilt again until 1840. Today, the castle is open to the public and home to a large collection of armor and weapons.
Swallow’s Nest Castle
Swallow’s Nest Castle in Gaspra, on the Crimean Peninsula, is a relatively new castle. Built in 1911 for the oil millionaire, Baron von Steingel, this castle sits precariously on the very edge of a 40 meter (131.23 feet) cliff. So picturesque is this castle it has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Crimea. In 1927, the Swallow’s Nest Castle survived a large earthquake however the supporting cliff developed a large crack. Shortly after the earthquake, the building was thought to be unsafe and left abandoned for 40 years. Restoration work did not start until 1968 when the surrounding land was bolstered. In 1975, rooms of the castle were turned into an Italian restaurant. Since then, people from all over have come to enjoy delicious pizzas and pastas with majestic ocean views.
Himeji Castle in Himeji, Japan, was one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites declared in Japan. The castle as it stands today was built between 1601 – 1609 under the orders of Ikeda Terumasa. Terumasa received the original castle that stood on the sight as a gift for helping his father-in-law win an important battle. He then demolished it and had it rebuilt as it can be seen today. The castle had several defenses against potential attackers including maze-like outer grounds, designed to confuse and disorient incoming marauders and strategic holes for dropping rocks and boiling oil on those below. The castle was placed up for auction in 1971 and sold to a local man for a mere 23 Yen! His plan was to develop the area, however soon realized it would cost too much money. During World War II, Hemeji Castle remained almost completely undamaged despite having a fire bomb land on the top floor. Luckily the bomb was a dub and failed to explode. In 1995, the castle proved it’s resilience yet again when it survived the Great Hanshin Earthquake. A bottle of sake that was placed on an altar on the top floor remained completely unmoved.
Hohenzollern Castle near Stuttgart, Germany, is the latter of three castles built on the site. Evidence of the first castle dates back to the 11th century. In 1423 the original castle was eventually razed and destroyed after a 10 month long siege. In 1454, construction on the second castle began. During the 30 Years War (1618-1648), the castle was again raided and eventually captured. Over the next 200 years, the castle fell into ruin. Construction of the third and current castle began in 1850 and took 17 years to complete. Today the castle is open to the public and houses an extensive art collection.
Neuschwanstein Castle located in South West Bavaria, Germany, is the original inspiration for Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. Commissioned by King Ludwig II of Bavaria, construction of this grand palace began in 1869. Ludwig II paid for the construction with his personal fortune and when that ran out, he borrowed extensively to finish the lavish castle. Threatening suicide if his creditors tried to seize the castle, Ludwig’s out of control spending continued until June of 1886 when the government decided to depose the King. Neuschwanstein Castle remained largely unfinished at the time of the King’s mysterious and suspicious death on 13th June, 1866, when he was found in the shallow waters near the shores of Lake Starnberg.
Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy France is built on a small island 600 meters off shore. The island has been home to several smaller fortresses throughout the ages but the castle as it is named today was first established in the 8th century A.D. The legend of the island tells that Arc Angel Michael appeared to a local Bishop and told him to build a church on top of the hill on the island. After the Bishop repeatedly refused, Arc angel Michael is said to have burnt a hole in the Bishop’s skull with his finger. During the 15th century, the island stronghold was attacked twice by the English however it’s unique location made it impossible to take and the English eventually ended their sieges.
Well if you start saving your pennies, maybe one day you too can own a magnificent castle just like these ones. Either that or become the commander of a marauding army and take one by force! Which ever is easier. Until next time!