Castles and fortresses remind you of royalty, battles and power. They are the witness to history spanning hundreds and thousands of years. They evoke a sense of nostalgia in the past. Perhaps that’s the reason for them being some of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Let’s have a look at the top 10 greatest fortresses and castles ever built.
10. Chittorgarh Fort, India:
Located in Chittor, Rajasthan, the Chittorgarh Fort is the largest fort in India. Chittor was the capital of Mewar during the Mughal rule. It was ruled by several Rajput clans and later abandoned after a siege by Emperor Akbar. It is built over a 590.6 ft high hill and has a sprawling area of 691.9 acres. The fort, in many ways, is a symbol of gallantry and chivalry due to the history of great kings and battles associated with it.
9. Windsor Castle, England:
It was originally built to oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames during the Norman dominance. It was then that it was gradually enhanced with stone fortifications. It is known to have withstood a prolonged siege during the First Barons’ War and also survived the period of the English Civil War when it was used as the military headquarters. Having stood the test of time it is still used by the reigning Queen Elizabeth II quite often.
8. Malbork Castle, Poland:
Malbork Castle is a designated UNESCO world heritage site and is the world’s largest brick castle. Built like a medieval fortress, the Malbork Castle was constructed by the Teutonic Order in 1406 after the conquest of Old Prussia. It is also the largest castle in the world in terms of surface area. It is located on the southeastern bank of the river Nogat and was initially named Marienburg after Mary, patron saint of the religious Order.
7. Mukachevo Castle, Ukraine:
It is a unique fortress located on a former volcanic hill. It is also known as the Palanok Castle and is located in the city of Mukachevo in the western Ukrainian province of Zakarpattia. The work on the castle was started around 14th century and today it has three parts – the high, middle, and low castle. With a complex labyrinth of underground passages it truly is one of the greatest fortresses in the world.
6. Citadel of Aleppo, Syria:
It is a castle in Aleppo situated in northern Syria. One of the largest and oldest castles in the world, the citadel dates back to at least to the middle of the 3rd millennium BC. The Greeks, Byzantines, Ayyubids and Mamluks were some of the civilizations that occupied it throughout history. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986. It is believed that the prophet Abraham had milked his sheep on the citadel hill.
5. Murud-Janjira, India:
Situated in the Raigad district of Maharashtra is the fort Murud-Janjira. It is built on an island off the coastal village of Murud and regarded as one of the most resilient marine forts ever built with approach only possible through sea. The main gate is visible when well within the fort’s reach with another gate in the rear for escape to the sea in case emergency. The fort was first built in the 15th century and to this day has its 19 rounded bastions intact.
4. Mehrangarh Fort, India:
It is also located in the Indian state of Rajasthan in the city of Jodhpur. It was first built in the year 1459 by Rao Jodha, the founder of Jodhpur when he shifted his capital from Mandore. Today it is one of the most popular tourist destinations of India. It is built over a hill 122m high and is enclosed by colossal walls on every side. There are several palaces within it and offers an imposing view of the city below making it one of the greatest fortresses of the world.
3. Königstein Fortress, Germany:
It is also called the Saxon Bastille. It is situated on a hilltop near Dresden, in Saxon Switzerland, Germany, on the left bank of the River Elbe and is one of the largest fortresses in Europe. The fortress sits on a plateau of the same name and has some parts which are as many as 400 years old. It has a 152.5 meter deep well in its center, the second deepest well in Europe.
2. Alamut Castle, Iran:
Alamut was a fortress located near the Rudbar region about 100 kilometers from Tehran, Iran. It was virtually one of the fortresses regarded as unconquerable without meticulous planning and insider help throughout history due to its position on a high mountain. It was virtually impossible to climb it and even if someone was resolute enough to do it, it would take a lot of time. Due to this very reason it was christened the Eagle’s Nest.
1. Masada, Israel:
Masada is a fortress situated on a rock plateau in the Southern District of Israel. It has been around since the ancient times and has probably survived due to its placement. On an isolated plateau with the Judaean desert on one side and the Dead Sea on the other, it is truly one of the greatest fortresses that stood the test of time. Its location is such that it has remained virtually untouched by civilization and decay due to modernization for several millennia. Today it is Israel’s most popular tourist destination.