There are many beautiful castles still standing in the world today. Some of them are still used while others are now open to the public or have been transformed into museums or parks. These are 10 of the most popular castles to visit on the globe.
1. Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas, Cartagena, Colombia
This structure was originally built from 1536 and 1657 by the Spanish as a fortress. It’s now a popularUNESCO World Heritage Site and is also used by Colombia’s government as an area for meeting with foreign delegates.
2. Leeds Castle, Kent, England
(photo by stewartmorris)
3. Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California, USA
This fantastic building was constructed back in 1919 for William Randolph Hearst, the famous newspaper magnate. His corporation donated the castle and surrounding property to the state years later. These days it’s a popular historic park where visitors can view its impressive collection of antiques and art.
4. The Forbidden City, Beijing, China
(photo by nwhitford)
The Forbidden City houses an imperial palace which was constructed from 1406 to 1420. Emperors from the Ming to Qing Dynasties used to live here. There’s a museum in place these days and the palace complex is about 178 acres in size and is one of China’s most popular attractions.
5. Segovia Castle, Segovia, Spain
This is another castle that was originally constructed as a fortress. Over the years it’s been used as a state prison, military school, and royal palace. It was built in 1120 and its first occupants were King Alfonso VIII and his wife, who changed it from a stone fort into a castle.
6. Castle Frankenstein, Darmstadt, Germany
(photo by yvogeis)
Nobody’s sure when this castle was built, but there was recorded mention of it back in 1252. The castle was the birthplace of Johann Konrad Dippel and it was rumoured that he experimented with dead bodies while living there. It’s believed that this castle and his activities in it are what inspired Mary Shelley to write the famous book Frankenstein.
7. The Tower of London, London, England
(photo by whsieh78)
The Tower of London has been used over the years as a zoo, prison, palace, and fortress. It was erected back in 1078 and has housed Britain’s Crown Jewels ever since 1303. The Tower is now operated by a charitable organization and is still one of England’s most visited attractions.
8. Neuschwanstein Castle, Bavaria, Germany
This spectacular castle was built in 1869 when Ludwig II of Bavaria commissioned it. It was opened to the public after he died in 1886. The castle’s exterior is one of the most photographed sites in Germany.
9. The Palace of Versailles, Versailles, France
This magnificent building was originally a royal hunting lodge just on the outskirts of Paris. Louis XIV transformed it into a grand palace after he moved there from Paris. The building has about 700 over 65 staircases and just over 2,150 windows. The royal court operated from here in 1682 but it had to move back to Paris when the French Revolution erupted.
10. Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England
The British Royal family has three official homes and this is one of them. The others are London’s Buckingham Palace and Scotland’s Holyrood Palace. Windsor Castle was originally a wooden building that was constructed from 1070 to 1086 by William the Conqueror.