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Medieval and Byzantine History Medieval and Byzantine History Forum - Period of History between classical antiquity and modern times, roughly the 5th through 16th Centuries


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Old May 4th, 2012, 08:15 AM   #1

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Which European country has the most castles? Most fascinating?


I'd pick Silves, Portugal.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 08:44 AM   #2

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Wales has the most castles per square miles; with the UK in general having many impressive structures, and interesting clan tales, if you're in the Scottish highlands. Also, Germany and Austria cannot be underestimated in this regard either, as Neuschwanstein is legendary.

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Old May 4th, 2012, 09:00 AM   #3

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Due to its long tradition on building with stones, first I would say that the most impressive collection of castles belong to Italy, France and Spain. However, Central Europe and British Isles are equally impressive.

Both France and Spain amount more than 10,000 remaining fortified places each, in this web you have 9,000 from Spain Castillos del mundo Italy goes to around 26,000. In Wikipedia we can read that German speaking areas built around 14,000 fortifications in the Middle Ages.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 09:53 AM   #4

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I don't know which country has most castles, as this depends on your definition of a castle, whether you count ruins as well, and whether you are looking for density of castles per area or overall number...and "fascinating" is also a very subjective expression...As you posted in Medieval History, you are probably interested in defensive castles, and not renaissance or baroque palaces.

In South Germany, there are many castles. Many of them are ruins, but still there is quite a number which survived - often not completely in the original state, but modified in later times.

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Burg Eltz, an example of a castle with many preserved medieval structures.


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Veste Coburg (like in Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, who today prefer the name of "Windsor"), an example of a castle with still many medieval structures, but also many later additions.

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Burg Hohenzollern, ancestral seat of the Hohenzollern dynasty, an example of a castle with medieval origins, but almost completely rebuilt in the 19th century.

Neuschwanstein castle, the most famous castle with tourists, is fascinating, but nothing more than a substantiation of the wild dreams of a crazy 19th century king. There are many other castles, for example along the Rhine valley, and also in central Germany (Thuringia with the famous Wartburg, and the many castles of Saxony).


My personal favorite land of castles however is Tyrol. As Tyrol was the location of many important mountain passes crossing the Alps, many castles were built to protect these passes, or to make the passing people pay heavy tolls, or to even rob the voyagers and then retreat to one's castle...

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The Haderburg in South Tyrol, high above the village of Salurn.


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Schloss Tirol, the most famous castle in South Tyrol, ancestral seat of the counts of Tyrol.

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Schloss Runkelstein, above the city of Bozen in South Tyrol.

[Source for all images: Wikipedia]
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Old May 4th, 2012, 11:20 AM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BosnianHistorian View Post
I'd pick Silves, Portugal.
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Thank you very much for mentioning this great castle - I immediately had to read about its history. It is actually a Moorish castle built from the 8th to the 13th century. As you call yourself Bosnian - what about castles in Bosnia? Like Iberia, Bosnia changed between Muslim and Christian reign, so there should also be a lot of defensive structures.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 11:24 AM   #6

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Grimald, I would love to visit Germany purely to see it's wonderful castles.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 11:31 AM   #7
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I would say either Germany or Spain
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Old May 4th, 2012, 11:41 AM   #8
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Cymru/'Wales' certainly, in proportion to size. Having conquered England in a week or two William the Bastard set up some of his toughest followers on the border, with instructions to get in there and grab what they could - which they did by marching in, building a tower and using it as a robber base, gradually extended into a big castle. We learned the trick and fought back, so the territory turned into a patchwork of tiny warring states, some owning allegiance to the Norman king of England, and the fighting went on for some two hundred years. Edward the 1st spent vast sums on on state-of-the-art monster ones to hold us down, but even some of those were taken in the failed War of Independence 1n 1400-1410. I once lived in the Shropshire bit of Powys and can remember four castles within some twelve miles.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 11:56 AM   #9

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Very very fascinating! I've been to Wales and have learnt about the wars. Also, Neuchwanstein is beautiful!

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Regarding your question to Bosnia. Bosnia has no castles from the medieval period which we no of, none built by Ottomans, Hungarians, or Byzantines suprisingly. I'm sure there are some, but they are not known to us. Any castles in Bosnia have been destroyed.

Maybe the best one ( only one ) is Ostrozac:

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In Tesanj there is a Turkish Fortress:

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Both of which I have visited.

I'm sure a Silves castle exists, because we were an Ottoman country for 500 years. But it is not known well about. We have no money for restoration etc.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 11:58 AM   #10

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An Ottoman town existed before destruction maybe 300 years ago in Zvornik:

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