Largest Castles in the World

Largest Castles in the World

Largest Castles in the World

A lot of guide books present Prague Castle as the largest castle in the world. England claims the record for Windsor Castle and Wikipedia declares Malbork the winner. So where is the truth in finding the worlds largest castle?

The first question is, what the word largest mean. A floor area was probably measured in Windsor and Prague, but it doesn’t make sense for Malbork or any other castle that is not so well preserved. Moreover I have not detailed blueprints of all large castles, so I can’t compare the floor area. That’s why I picked another method. Want more castles to look at? View the largest castles in the world video guide for more castles and keeps.

Edinburgh Castle (35,737 square meters)

The iconic fortress dominating the skyline of Scotland’s capital city is built atop an extinct volcano. It is often illuminated at night with colorful lighting.

If you visit the castle, you can see the Honors (Crown Jewels) of Scotland. There are replicas you can take photos of, and then the actual Honors are kept in a separate room under strict guard where no photography is allowed.

They say no photography is permitted in the Sistine Chapel, and most people take photos anyway but here, when they say no photography, they certainly mean it. Almost as much as they do in the Tomb of the Popes.

 

Edinburgh Castle VerseVend[Flickr]

Edinburgh Castle
VerseVend[Flickr]

Citadel of Aleppo (39,804)

The Citadel of Aleppo is found at the very crossroads of various trading routes that have been in existence since before the second millennium BC. The city of Aleppo, which is in Syria, is one of the world’s oldest continuously populated cites. The Citadel of Aleppo is one of the foremost monuments of the Islamic world and rises majestically above this ancient city

Archaeological digs at this Islamic landmark have uncovered Roman and Byzantine, not just Islamic ruins dating all the way back to the 9th century BC. The citadel at Aleppo was originally constructed on a natural hill to provide a powerful strategic site to act as a military fortress which would guard and protect the surrounding farmland and agricultural areas.

The Citadel of Aleppi underwent major redevelopment during the reign of the Ayyubid Sultan, al-Zahir al-Ghazi (r 1186-1216), it was this reconstruction which created the citadel complex in its current form.

A significant addition during al-Ghazi’s reign is the more recent mosque that was built in 1214. It was during the Ottoman period (1299-1923), that the military role of the Citadel as a defense fortress became less and less as the city dwelling began to grow outside the city walls and soon Aleppo became a commercial metropolis and trading center.

Citadel of Aleppo CharlesFred[Flickr]

Citadel of Aleppo
CharlesFred[Flickr]

Himeji Castle (41,468)

Himeji-jo is the finest surviving example of early 17th-century Japanese castle architecture, comprising 83 buildings with highly developed systems of defense and ingenious protection devices dating from the beginning of the Shogun period.

It is a masterpiece of construction in wood, combining function with aesthetic appeal, both in its elegant appearance unified by the white plastered earthen walls and in the subtlety of the relationships between the building masses and the multiple roof layers.

Himeji Castle is also a World Heritage Site undergoing a 3-year restoration. This June 2014, the Main Keep was unveiled, showing the public what the castle looked like in its original state when it was built 400 years ago. Himeji Castle, one of the most famous castles in Japan, can be reached in 30 minutes by bullet train from Shin-Osaka to Himeji station, the nearest station to the castle. It is be easily visited from Osaka or Kyoto.

 

Himeji Castle celie[Flickr]

Himeji Castle
celie[Flickr]

Buda Castle (44,674)

Long before the city of Budapest was unified in 1873, the twin towns of Buda and Pest faced each other across the Danube. And long before King Béla IV built his castle on Buda Hill in the 13th Century, prehistoric people lived in the caves beneath.

Over the centuries following the construction of Buda Castle, the natural cave system was enlarged by artificial tunnels and cellars to form a network extending several miles.

These underground rooms and passages have been put to all sorts of uses, both ordinary and sinister. They’ve provided shelter and springs, been storage and wine cellars, and of course, torture chambers and dungeons. In medieval times, they were used to hide riches from the eyes of tax collectors and during World War II they housed a military hospital.

Buda Castle kenyai[Flickr]

Buda Castle
kenyai[Flickr]

Spis Castle (49,485)

Spiš Castle is in eastern Slovakia towering above the town of Spišské Podhradie. The ruins make up one of the largest castle sites in Central Europe. It is another UNESCO Heritage site and one I can’t wait to visit. It looks like a setting of a grand fairy tale!

The castle’s imposing size is nested on the top of a limestone formation 634 metres above sea level. The castle’s very location predicated it to play out its own geopolitical role throughout its nearly eight hundred years long existence.

Spis Castle’s historical start-up is difficult to ascertain, however, its first contours did already stand in the mid-12th Century.  The next 300 years witnessed its steady growth by a series of successive ownerships from Zapolya to Forgac, Revayi and Hunadyi, Thurso to Csaky and of other noble families in between, nearly all of Hungarian origin.

By the end of the 17th Century the castle’s enormous size began to resemble its current architectural reality.

Spis Castle Milo[Flickr]

Spis Castle
Milo[Flickr]

Hohensalzburg Castle (54,523)

Hohensalzburg Castle is even more dominating lit up at night. Its building began in 1077, and I can imagine that it must have provided a feeling of safety through the years for the inhabitants of Salzburg. The castle was built by the Prince Archbishop of the time and expanded by his successors over the centuries to protect the city and symbolize their authority as the religious and secular powers of the province.

Hohensalzburg CastleDHausBT[Flickr]

Hohensalzburg Castle
DHausBT[Flickr]

Windsor Castle (54,835)

Windsor Castle is one of the royal residences, located outside of London in Berkshire, originally built in the 11th century. It is the largest occupied castle in the world.

 

Windsor Castle Mark S Jobling[Flickr]

Windsor Castle
Mark S Jobling[Flickr]

Prague Castle (66,761)

Looming over these vines hangs the largest castle in the world: Prague Castle.  Really, it is just a hilltop city filled with over a thousand years of cathedrals, palaces, and ornate buildings all for whomever rules from here (including Parliament today).

Prague Castle liber[Flickr]

Prague Castle
liber[Flickr]

Mehrangarh Fort (81,227)

An eye catching view of Jodhpur city, Mehrangarh Fort and Jaswant Thada altogether. Mehrangarh Fort is situated 400 feet above and built by Rao Jodha in 1459 standing wonderfully on a rocky place. Jaswant Thada is 19th century royal memorial built in remembrance of Maharaja Jaswant Singh II.

This is a great combination of both sand stone architecture and other of white marble which gives a tremendous and versatile look with greenery and hilly areas that add more beauty. Jodhpur city is very famous for its forts, museums, monuments with its classic customs, culture, tradition and lifestyle of people.

Mehrangarh Fort closelyobserved[Flickr]

Mehrangarh Fort
closelyobserved[Flickr]

Malbork Castle (143,591)

This 13th-century fortified monastery belonging to the Teutonic Order was substantially enlarged and embellished after 1309, when the seat of the Grand Master moved here from Venice. A particularly fine example of a medieval brick castle, it later fell into decay, but was meticulously restored in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Many of the conservation techniques now accepted as standard were evolved here. Following severe damage in the Second World War it was once again restored, using the detailed documentation prepared by earlier conservators.

Malbork Castle janusz l[Flickr]

Malbork Castle
janusz l[Flickr]

There you have it the worlds largest castles to learn about, enjoy and perhaps one day visit. Be sure to choose a favorite castle to travel to see and let us know about the trip. Want more castles to look at? View the largest castles in the world video guide for more castle and keep action.

Chris is an avid travel writer and produces some of the feature articles here at Traveltamed.com

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