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Anadoluhisari Castle



Anadoluhisari is a castle situated in the Bosporus. It's English name is the "Anatolian Castle".

In the year 1393, the castle was built by the Ottoman emperor Bayesid. His main intention in building it was to besiege Constantinople and cut off its supplies coming from the Black Sea.

Years later, another castle was built in the other side of the strait called the "Roumeli Hissar" the intention of the castles was mainly to guard that very important spot known as the Bosporus.

Roumeli Hissar - the Bosporus - Castle

Guarding the narrow portion of sea linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Black Sea, this XV century castle could easily defend Constantinople against attacks coming from the Mediterranean. However, guarding Constantinople wasn't this castle's main objective, for its Turkish architects sought to make it very mighty with the sole objective of inspiring fear in the local populace.


This was mainly because Constantinople was already defended by the Ottoman empire (who had recently acquired Constantinople) by the castle known as the "Anadoluhisari Castle".

The castle is situated near the Bosporus, which is a very strategic place to situate a castle since it prevents unauthorized ships to cross from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean - giving much protection against naval warfare in the actual Meditarranean.

After the XVI century, this castle began to evolve and when gunpowder was introduced into medieval warfare, narrow openings were made because archers became obsolete. Besides being a military fortress, this castle was seldom used as a feudal residence for a few nobles who stayed there from time to time during times of war.

Falkenstein Castle

 

German

Falkenstein lies in the Harz Mountains. This enormous castle was designed to resist a siege and an invading army's attack. 6 doors separated the defenders from the attackers. Each door was heavily guarded and it included archer loops and other defenses.

Felkenstein castle was used for hunting purposes for many years; and today it hosts a large hunting museum so the world can see the might of this castle.

Wartburg Castle

 

German

Believed to have been established around 1067, Wartburg castle was completed until 1170. This castle housed many political and famous characters, the most notorious one being Martin Luther who from 1521 to 1522 translated the New Testament into German inside Wartburg's walls.

Wartburg castle is located in Eisenach and it was built on a mountain 1300 feet high. This castle's interiors are very luxurious, and even today it can be visited because it has turned into a museum visited by thousands of tourists a year.

The Tower of London

 

English

The Tower of London was built by William the Conqueror. William believed that building castles and forts everywhere was vital for his success in England. In just a couple of years, he built more than 40 castles; The Tower of London included. William took advantage of an old Roman wall to build the most magnificent edifice that England has ever seen.

The Tower of London was originally built as a means of defense against a possible Danish attack to London's trade route in the river. It was also meant to show England its own power. Even though it wasn't designed as a palace, numerous kings and queens spent a considerable amount of time in the castle; specially in times of war in which it would prove to be a formidable stronghold.

Protected by the Roman wall to the East and South, by an enormous ditch to the West, by the river and by its walls; the Tower of London is one of the strongest castles ever built. William of Normandy rebuilt his older timber castle with stone. By 1078 the construction started, making the castle up to a hundred feet high in some places. The building took more than 20 years to complete.

Originally meant as a defensive position, The Tower of London suffered many changes throughout history. It was the home of nobles, the tomb of kings, a place for celebrities; and more recently, a prison. Its dungeons were very efficient to hold inmates.

Many monarchs strengthened the tower somehow; some of them built new rooms and towers to make it even better. The old Roman wall suffered many changes as well; some notorious ones include an increase in its height and width; making the castle possess many lines of defense against a possible attack.



The castle can be seen today and millions of tourists a year see the might of the world expressed in a building; The Tower of London.

Windsor Castle

 

English

Located in England, this glorious castle was built by William the Conqueror to protect London from its enemies. Windsor castle is famous for being the longest inhabited castle ever built; from a thousand years ago, the castle has been continuously a stronghold for nobles and monarchs.

In 1170, Henry II rebuilt it. Its wooden walls and towers were re-made with stone. This castle was used a command center to control much of Britain. Even today, we can see its magnificence; not only because of its size, but of the way it's built. It isn't only a very strong castle, it is a very luxurious one as well.



Foix Castle

 

French

Foix castle was situated on top of a hill. Built in the XI century, its position was strategically chosen to defend the river that passed very near, and the whole town. Foix Castle was said to be "indestructible" and it proved to be that way for more than two centuries centuries until, in 1272, it was taken by force by French king Philippe the Bold.

Foix castle remained a prison until 1862; today, it's a museum.

Alcazar of Segovia

 

Spanish

This castle is very famous because of the continues persons that have inhabited it throughout the centuries. Some very important events have occurred in this castle. The coronation of Queen Isabel happened in 1474.

Many nobles have lived in Alcazar of Segovia. When the castle was at its peak, a conflagration, in 1862, torn some parts of the castle to ashes. Twenty years after, in 1882, it was rebuilt.

This castle is host of many urban legends. Some of which include that Walt Disney's inspiration for Disneyland came from here.

Today, Alcazar of Segovia serves the community as a museum.

Castillo de Coca

 

Spanish

Castle of Coca has always been characterized by its luxurious interior and extravagant exterior. It consists of a moat and three walls; the gatehouse is very strongly built.

Because of its magnificence, Castle of Coca has been more of a palace than a castle. Considered as one of the best castles in Spain, Castle of Coca shows its mixture of civilizations notorious in its decorations. Arabic influence is conspicuous. We can see this by its beautifully decorated bricks composing Castillo de Coca's walls.

Today, the castle can be visited and it has an immense array of flowers on its gardens.

Castillo de Coca is located in Segovia province. It was built by the archbishop of Seville in the XV century.

Penafiel Castle

 

Spanish

Penafiel castle was built in the XIV century by Don Juan Manuel. This castle is notorious for its narrowness. Even though small, in this castle there was a fierce battle in which thousands of people died.


The shape of Penafiel resembles a ship. The mountain on which it was built is very narrow; thus the harness of building Penafiel.

Penafiel means "loyal rock" in Spanish. It is called this way because the castle has been very loyal throughout the centuries to Castile.

All the walls are very thick and tall. This castle was designed to be "unconquerable" and, according to many historians the gatehouse is probably the best one in Spain.

Dracula's Castle - Romania, Cetatea Poienari and Bran Castle

Two castles call themselves "Dracula Castle" today. Both of these attract many tourists who are fans of the Legend of Vlad the Impaler.

The question remains - which one is the true castle of Dracula?

After much investigation, it has been agreed by most historians that the real castle of Dracula resides in Cetatea Poienari in Romania. Unfortunately, Dracula picked a very difficult terrain which was good for preventing enemy armies from invading - but extremely bad for modern tourists who find themselves struggling the 1,500 stair climb to reach it.

This castle, however, is mostly in ruins. It is open all day for tourists to visit it but unfortunately there is not much to see and the main landscape has been changed because of a big factory occupying the same hillside as the castle itself. This combined with the lack of virtually anything makes it an undesirable place to visit it - the only factor which keeps attracting visitors is the fact that it was Dracula's Castle and he lived there for many years (he also impaled thousands of people in those very grounds).

Since, as mentioned above, the real Dracula's Castle is undesirable, another castle called Bran Castle dares to be called "Dracula's Castle" as well.

This castle was, unfortunately, just visited a couple of times by Vlad himself and whether he owned it or even lived there for a long period of time is completely unknown. However, the scary-looking towers and the creepy interiors are what make Bran Castle host to thousands of visitors per year.

Vincennes Castle in France

Vincennes castle is located in Southern France. It was, at one point, a very luxurious stronghold inhabited by French kings.

Vincennes castle has, however, lost much of its luxury as centuries have passed since it was built in the XIV century. Nevertheless, it has been widely used for an immense array of purposes - most notoriously as a porcelain factory and as a prison because of the immense dungeons located underneath.

This castle is also very well designed as it features a seemingly perfect symmetry which took much work by medieval architects to accomplish.

Many round towers can be seen in the castle's exterior which were primarily for defense purposes. Of course, this castle was very strong and feared by enemy armies.

British Castles - Castles of England

English castles were very strongly built. Their origins date back to William the Conqueror when he built the first castles. The most remarkable one is the Tower of London which embraces might to whoever glances at the magnificently built stronghold.

Of course hundreds of British castles exist and most of them can be visited today. Unfortunately, not all as many have been subject to devastating attacks which have left them in ruins.

For more information about British castles, look at these two amazing resources:

http://www.medieval-castles.org/castles/British_castles.htm

http://medieval-castles.org/blog/index.php?cat=22

British castles were built not only to defend England against foreign invasions - but also to inspire power among the peasants who inhabited that place.

Castles in England were firstly built to prevent Viking invasions - and later on to prevent the French from invading a given part of England.

Scotland also possessed a threat against the British instability, and it wasn't until the Scottish independence when this took a very noticeable effect.

The Battle of Bannockburn ir of course a great way to see this as the Scottish stole many English castles and proclaimed them their own - winning many dicisive victories - and in the case of the Battle of Bannockburn, expanding its own power.

This all shows us what castles were really used for - to control land, show power and defend a given country. In the case of British castles, this was no exception as so many were built that England proved to be undefeatable even after the Middle Ages and even later! In times of Hitler when mighty castles were once again used as defensive posts to make military tactics beneath the castles' tunnels.

Build a Medieval Castles - How to.

 

Castles

Building a medieval castle was no easy task. There were many factors that had to be taken into consideration before even attempting to begin the difficult task of creating a fortress of out pure wood and stone.

Before building a castle, many architects and engineers had to carefully study the ground to see if it was actually suitable for the castle or not. The terrain had to be as strong and dry as possible because in the opposite, the castle could sink as time passed.

Additionally, a high terrain was commonly sought for defensive purposes. Sometimes castles would be built next to the sea or lakes in order to bring more defenses to the castle, but this was unreliable as it could also bring the castle to ruins because of the water.

The perfect position for a castle was next to a mountain or huge rock as it could bring a very strong barrier against the enemies. For these reasons, the terrain had to be carefully studied and this was a very lengthy task because it was sought whether the chosen place was the best to build the castle or if it had to be built elsewhere.

After the terrain was chosen, came the hard part - flattening of the surface. This was commonly done in months, but sometimes due to the weather it took much longer. The terrain had to be strengthened with rocks or other materials to ensure safety within the castle walls and to prevent it from ever sinking or collapsing. Additionally, newer and stronger castles also took into consideration the miners who would dig under a castle's walls in order for it to collapse - they would very frequently afterwards place huge rocks beneath - or simply underground walls to prevent this and give more strength to walls.

When the land was set, tons and tons of stone had to be brought from the surroundings. This was a lengthy process which took many months and sometimes even years. Nevertheless, this could be faster depending on the time of the year and other factors such as the resource's proximity.

When everything was set, the castle's building began. Usually the building process per se would start before all the resources were accumulated in order to save time. Hundreds of builders were hired to do this job and many peasants were actually forced to speed everything up.

A castle usually took anywhere from five to fifteen years to build. Sometimes more or less - but this was pretty much the average. Nevertheless, castles were never finished and they were very frequently improved in future generations.

Today, castles can be built in less than half of the time due to massive production and cheap labor. Castles today are being built for historical purposes or simply because they are sometimes comfortable and secure to live in.

Ciechanow Castle in Poland

This Polish castle was designed symmetrically to withstand a lengthy siege. Its origins date to the XV century when it was built by the Duke of Masovia.



Ciechanow castle features four defensive towers, one on each corner, which were made for archers to fire from a distance.

Its situations is also of a great advantage as it was placed at a higher altitude giving an additional bonus for archers and a disadvantage for the invading troops who had to walk against gravity.

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