World-famous medieval castles

 

The castle as we know it today was introduced into England in 1066 during the Norman invasion led by William the Conqueror. After their victory at the Battle of Hastings, the Normans settled in England. They constructed castles all over the country in order to control their newly-won territory, and to pacify the Anglo-Saxon population. These early castles were mainly of motte and bailey type.

castles

These timber castles were quite cheap and very quick to build. However, the timber castles did have disadvantages. They were very vulnerable to attacks using fire and the wood would eventually start to rot. Due to these disadvantages, King William ordered that castles should be built in stone.

castles

Over time, stone castles were built in different architectural styles as builders experimented with castle-building techniques. In their infancy, castles were primarily military fortifications used to defend conquered territories from attack. 

castles

They were also used by powerful lords to display their wealth and power through lavish architectural styles and decoration. Castles were not only built and used by the crown. In fact, the majority of castles were granted by the king to his loyal lords and nobles along with large areas of land. In return for these grants, the king expected his nobles to control and administer these lands on his behalf. 

castles

Around the world, palaces and castles play a compelling role in telling the rich history of a region. Their fabled halls and sky-high towers reveal the triumphs (and tragedies) of their rulers. In addition, they provide in-depth architectural lessons thanks to their ornate and timeless designs. Evoking legends, lore, and full-blown fantasy, castles possess a certain magic that draws in modern travelers. The soaring structures and bountiful gardens of royal dwellings allow us to revisit those worlds of our childhood bedtime stories.

castles

From a Danish palace rebuilt after a devastating fire to a Japanese fortress that echoes the beauty of nature, these enchanting estates hold bountiful tales to fill up volumes of storybooks. Thankfully though, even if you weren't born in direct line for the throne or haven't come across the opportunity to wed a prince (ahem, Meghan Markle), you can still feel like royalty on your wedding day with a castle wedding venue.

castles

We pulled together some real-life castles. Many of these gorgeous venues are right here in the U.S.

 

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