Medieval Information

Everything About the Dark Ages

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.

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.

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.

Castles of Japan - Japanese Castles and Warfare Information - Defenses

As did the Western World, the Eastern World had Dark Ages too. The most notorious example is that of Japan in which dozens of gigantic strongholds were built.

Japanese Castle

The story of most of these go back hundreds of years during the time of the Shoguns and, mainly; civil wars.

Additionally, castles were also built in order to defend the Japanese interests from foreign invaders - most notorious the Mongols who kept trying to invade them throughout their history. Nevertheless, the time in which the most amount of Japanese castles were built, was during the Shogun times, as mentioned above, in which many internal battles took place.

Japanese castles were very similar to European because they were both stormed in the same way. Ultimately, Japanese castles could usually withstand a siege much longer as they were very disciplined and in some extreme cases they could last up to a year or more defending themselves.

As it can be noted in the image above, Japanese castles featured a complete different architecture from European castles. Their decorations were totally different and so where the ways to defend them.

Additionally, in Japan, honor played an even greater role when defending castles as the defenders would hold on to the last moment instead of giving up. This was rarely the case as many times relief arrived before, but when it didn't mostly the samurais defending would commit seppuku or hara-kiri in order to kill themselves.

This practice, hara-kiri, was very common during Feudal Japan and it continued throughout the centuries and it still happens even today! In terms of medieval Japan, it frequently happened and it was common to never surrender even if it was clear that a battle was to be lost.

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