*Editor’s review of the best. About the selection criteria. This material is subjective, it is not an advertisement and does not serve as a guide to purchase. Before buying you need to consult with a specialist.
The magazine experts have compiled their own list of the top ten most beautiful ancient castles in the world. Ancient buildings, despite their respectable age, still impress with their incredibly attractive appearance. The selection was based on the aesthetics of the architecture, interiors, and surrounding park areas.
Rating of the most beautiful castles in the world
|The most beautiful castles in the world||1||Pena Castle, Portugal||5.0|
|2||Hluboka nad Vltavou Castle, Czech Republic||4.9|
|3||Frederiksbor Castle, Denmark||4.8|
|5||Matsumoto Castle Japan||4.6|
|8||Borivar Castle, Hungary||4.3|
|10||Egeskov Castle, Denmark||4.1|
Château de Pena, Portugal
One of the most famous architectural monuments of Portugal is located 30 kilometers from the capital. The castle was built on top of the Sierra da Cintra (450 meters above sea level). From the main observation deck of the citadel on a sunny day you can clearly see Lisbon and the ocean coast. Pena was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1995.
Construction of the castle began in 1836 on the site of a dilapidated monastery and was completed in 1854. For a long time it remained the official summer residence of the king. It is still the site of official state ceremonies with the president and other dignitaries.
Several styles in the architecture of Pena Castle. This includes the austere, a little gloomy aesthetics of the Gothic, authentic Portuguese Renaissance with marine elements – Manuelino, and a combination of complex, intricate forms with clear symmetry, typical of Islamic. The complex can be divided into four main parts:
- fortress walls with double gates in front of the drawbridge
- Monastery with a clock tower;
- An arched courtyard with walls and floor lined with painted azulejo clay tiles;
- Giant bastion palace.
The interior is as good as the exterior. The rooms are decorated with luxurious antique furniture, the walls are decorated with frescos, stained-glass windows, pictures by famous masters of painting of the past. The castle is surrounded on all sides by a picturesque park of about 200 hectares. There are rare exotic trees: American sequoias, Lebanese cypresses, magnolias, cedars, ginkgos, cryptomeria.
The Pena Castle is open for tourists all year round, from 10 am to 7 pm, except during the Catholic Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Interesting Fact: The bright colors of the exterior walls – terracotta, yellow, orange, red, and brown – only appeared in 1994, after another restoration. Previously they were just gray.
Hluboka nad Vltavou Castle, Czech Republic
Thousands of tourists every day travel 140 kilometres from Prague to admire the beauty of this true gem of Southern Bohemia. The beautiful snow-white building makes an unforgettable impression on visitors, regardless of the season or weather.
The history of the castle began in the 14th century. Formerly known as the Frauenberg, it went through a dozen different owners before being run by the Schwarzenbergs in the 19th century. It was thanks to Princess Eleonora that it was completely reconstructed and given its modern, easily recognizable appearance. For the similarity of many architectural elements and the overall concept, Hluboka Castle is called the Czech Windsor.
At the entrance, visitors are welcomed into a fabulous park with 12,000 rare trees and more than 2,000 exotic shrubs. The castle itself has 140 rooms. The first floor is occupied by outbuildings and the hunting room. The kitchen is distinguished by quite “advanced” at that time technical equipment – special devices for peeling apples and potatoes, devices for making ice cream and slicing, self-turning spit. Guest reception rooms and the Princess’ boudoir are on the second floor. The castle library has more than 10 thousand books in five languages. The third floor houses unique collections of porcelain, tapestries, furniture, paintings.
In 1945 Hluboka Castle passed into the possession of the state. Today it is a national museum, open to visitors all year round.
Frederiksbor Castle, Denmark
Built at the end of the 16th century. Located near Copenhagen in Hillerød on three islands in the middle of a lake. The foundation stone was laid in 1560 by King Frederick (in whose honour the building was named) and it was finished in the reign of his son, Christian IV. For a long time it served as the official coronation venue for Danish kings and a meeting place for the Dannebrog order of knights.
The building is designed in the style of the Dutch Renaissance. The interior design was created by the Lorens and Hans van Steenwinkel brothers, who were among the most famous architects of that time in Europe. Marble arches, sculptures and the Neptune Fountain in the courtyard. A unique altar made of pure gold and decorated with ebony and silver is installed in the church on the Frederiksborg grounds. Every Thursday there is a free concert of organ music.
This imposing building of red bricks in the classic gothic style stands on the right bank of the Nogata River, a tributary of the Vistula River, on an area of 30 ha. From here it is 58 kilometers to Gdansk, 250 to Warsaw and only 70 to the Kaliningrad region of Russia.
Marienburg Castle, built in 1276. Since 1309 it has been the residence of the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order. After the departure of the knights became the residence of the Polish kings. During World War II it was a prisoner-of-war camp. Now it is a state museum with a rich collection of medieval sculptures, stained glass, weapons, ceramics, tapestries and amber. In summer, in the courtyard the traditional show “Sound and Light” takes place.
Marienburg is the world’s largest brick castle. Consists of a complex system of fortifications, 14 gates, and three main buildings – the Upper, Lower and Middle Castles. The upper one houses a mass of living quarters and the Assembly Hall. The Middle – Grandmaster’s Palace houses the VIP Reception Hall and the dining hall. In the Lower Castle were concentrated auxiliary buildings: barns, stables, smithy, granary, bakery. Under the castle church of St. Mary the Virgin Mary there is the burial vault of St. Anne, where the masters of the Teutonic Order are buried.
Matsumoto Castle Japan
Matsumoto is often called the Castle of the Raven because of the black color of its walls and the shape of its side towers resembling the bird’s outstretched wings. The building is located in the eponymous city of Nagano Prefecture on Honshu Island.
The castle was built at the end of the 16th century in the traditional Hirajiro style – with an elaborate system of defensive elements, covered passages between the three towers, and numerous secret passages. Matsumoto, unlike other Japanese bastions, was not built on an elevated site, but in a swampy area, and was supported by ten wooden pillars. The central donjon is six stories high. However, visitors can only see the five tiers. The sixth is covered with special protective plates. The second now houses a museum of samurai arms. And at the very top, the Moon Quarters with picturesque views of the surroundings await visitors.
The castle courtyard is decorated with numerous greenery, cherry trees, a park of chrysanthemums. Around the castle – the moat, filled with water, on which swans swim.
Throughout its existence, Matsumoto has survived more than one siege, fire, earthquake. So in 1969 it was closed for renovation, which was not completed until 2007.
The outline of the castle is familiar even to those who have never been to Bavaria. It is no wonder, as Neuschwanstein was the prototype of the legendary Disney castle – the emblem of the motion picture studio.
The first stone of the grandiose construction was laid on September 5, 1869 under King Ludwig II. The place for the construction of the castle was chosen as the rocky slope of the German Alps, the road to which leads through the dense woods. Formerly the site of Schwanstein, an ancient knight’s fortress. It took 17 years to build and cost the treasury 6 million gold marks. Neo-Renaissance and neo-Gothic motifs dominate the architecture, while the interior is decorated in Moorish and Baroque styles. The Neuschwanstein observation deck offers a breathtaking view of the snowy peaks of the mountains. From here you can clearly see the famous Lake Schwansee (Swan Lake), which inspired Tchaikovsky to create his ballet of the same name.
Every day the castle is visited by 5,000 tourists. You can get into the castle only on special carts, after standing in quite a long line. There are only group tours. No photos or videos are allowed in the grounds.
The castle lies in the Loire valley and is surrounded on all sides by a wooded park. It is a kind of masterpiece of Renaissance architecture. Built by order of King Francis I after his victory at the Battle of Marignano. Construction began in 1519 on the site of the manor of the Counts of Blois. Originally conceived as a summer residence of the king. The monarch was even actively involved in the creation of the project. Who the master architect was, remains a mystery to this day.
Chambord is a unique blend of the most expressive elements of French Gothic and Italian Renaissance. Spires of towers framing a grandiose donjon, symmetric interior buildings, double spiral stairs, polygonal ceilings with cavities and elegant laconic finishing of doorways in the complex create a surprisingly harmonious ensemble. The spacious terraces with the three-dimensional royal emblems on the arches on the upper levels are unforgettable. For the interior decoration of the exquisite fabric paneling ceilings, glass stained glass windows, wooden panels with openwork carvings.
The main building work was completed in 1539, but the castle was rebuilt many times over and expanded with new parts. Chambord was restored to its original appearance after being repurchased by the state in 1930.
Borivar Castle, Hungary
The symbol of fiery love and devotion is in the ancient capital of the Hungarian kings, Sekesfehervar. The castle was built almost single-handedly on the site of a small dilapidated manor by the famous architect, sculptor, professor of fine arts Ene Bozi in honor of his beloved wife Ilona. The works lasted for 40 years – from 1912 to 1959 – and were interrupted during the Second World War from the proceeds of the sale of Jenae’s own works
The architectural ensemble skilfully combines various stylistic elements – Gothic, Baroque, Neoclassicism and even Art Nouveau. The courtyard of the castle and its interiors are decorated with many sculptures, bas-reliefs, stained-glass windows, and frescoes. A luxurious garden completes the picture. An interesting feature of the artistic decoration: while the rather complex and intricate configuration of the railing, stairs, window and door bindings, the main material used was simple reinforced concrete.
In 1980 the grandchildren of Ene and Ilona restored the Borivar to its original state. You can visit the castle every day, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The train ride from Budapest to Sekesfehervar takes about an hour.
The acting country residence of the royal family is rightly considered the biggest and the most beautiful castle in Britain, and also one of the most visited tourist attractions of Foggy Albion.
The castle is located 43 kilometers from the capital, in Windsor, Berkshire. Built in 1066 by William the Conqueror, the elevated stone building boasts spectacular views of the Thames Embankment. During its history, it has been redesigned and reconstructed several times and has survived several fires, but it still delights the visitors with its monumental Gothic architecture and luxurious interior decoration. Tourists have free access to the halls, royal apartments and the Throne Room. Its walls are decorated with works by famous painters from different epochs: van Dyck, Rubens, Stubbs. The Queen Mary’s Doll’s House, created by the best masters of miniature painting, is of constant interest to visitors. The highest point of Windsor Castle is the Round Tower, which is 60 meters high.
The British Queen stops at the castle every year for a month after Easter to receive official foreign delegations and in July to attend a gathering of the Knights of the Order of the Garter and the Royal Horse Race. At this time it is important not to miss the now legendary Changing of the Guard of Honour ceremony.
Egeskov Castle, Denmark
The building is located in the middle of the island of Funen and is considered the most beautiful in Denmark. From a distance it looks like the castle walls are rising right out of the water. Built in 1554 by order of Baron Brockenhuus, the castle changed hands a few times before becoming the property of the Bije family in 1784 who still own it today.
Originally Egescov was built as a military fortress with strong ramparts and two self-contained sections. You could only get here by way of the drawbridge. The foundation of the building is formed by about a thousand wooden piles. According to some sources, an entire oak forest had to be cut down to build the castle. By the way, Egeskov means “oak forest” in Danish The facades are a classic example of Renaissance architecture. In 1883 Egeskov was completely restored and converted into a modern manor house with its own power plant and dairy. For visitors the castle opened in 1886. Now there are several museums here too – retro cars, farm machinery, dolls. Classical music concerts in summer.