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Most Beautiful Places Most Beautiful Castles...
Most Beautiful Castles

Dover Castle


Located at the shortest crossing between the UK and continental Europe, Dover Castle played a prime role in England's historical fortunes. Invading from France, William the Conqueror built the first castle in 1066 - an earthwork structure with a motte. Henry II did most to shape the building between 1179 and 1188, adding defences radiating out from the keep to produce Europe's first concentric castle. Henry II’s work was carried out with the help of Maurice the Ingeniator, and was completed by King John, resulting in a four-storey keep, a three-towered forebuilding and impregnable defensive walls.

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Castel del Monte


This beautifully constructed castle, which stands on a hill at an altitude of 540 metre-high (1770ft), near Bari in south-eastern Italy, is testament to the personality and talents of its inceptor, Frederick II. Known as the "stupor mundi" or "wonder of the world”, Frederick was said to speak nine languages and to have an insatiable thirst for knowledge, especially in mathematics, science and astronomy. In January 1240, Frederick issued a decree ordering Richard of Montefulsco, governor of Capitanata, to prepare the necessary materials to construct a castle near the church of Santa Maria del Monte (since disappeared). It was built over the next decade, but since Frederick died in 1250, it is uncertain how much he used it - although it is known to have been the site of his daughter Violante's wedding in 1249.

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Eilean Donan Castle


Situated at the meeting point of three sea lochs - Loch Alsh, Loch Duich and Loch Long - and looking west to the Isle of Skye, the castle of Eilean Donan, or island of Donan, combines spectacular location and colourful history in a way that makes it everything a British castle should be.

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Windsor Castle


There have been fortifications on the site of Windsor Castle since the 9th century, when the Saxons built a stockade to guard the adjacent River Thames.The artificial mound on which the present castle stands was put in place by William the Conqueror in around 1070.

The first stone building - a round tower - was constructed during the reign of Henry II (1154-1189) and flanked on three sides by a high outer wall. The unprotected southern side was later fortified by Henry III (1216-1272), who erected a fourth wall and had a chapel installed in it.

In 1348, Edward III converted the central fortress into royal apartments; subsequent monarchs - notably Charles II and George IV made many additions and improvements.

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Hohensalzurg Castle


Built atop a high rocky outcrop, known as the Festungsberg, Hohensalzburg Castle is the work of successive archbishops, who enlarged and modified it through the centuries. Constructed originally as a stronghold rather than a residence, the powerful archbishops came increasingly to rely on it as a place to hide from their enemies and own rebelling subjects.

The first structure on the site was little more than a bailey with a wooden wall, built by Archbishop Gebhard in 1077. The archbishop had taken the side of the pope in his power struggle with Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor, and the castle was required to shore up Salzburg's defences. Under the subsequent reign of Archbishop Konrad I, a stone tower was added.

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Most Beautiful Places Most Beautiful Castles...