Castles, 1


For centuries, castles conjured romantic images of the Middle Ages. People’s first exposure to castle were in fairytales, or perhaps they might have seen and visited them, either authentic or at theme parks.

The earliest castles date back to the Middle Ages, where they served as the homes and strongholds of a lord or nobleman. The word castle comes from the Latin castellum, meaning fort. Some castles are called forts.

Castles became important in feudal times, when Europe and other parts of the world were in a state of almost constant warfare and the people needed protection.

A castle served as home and fortress, prison, armoury, treasure house, and centre of local government. Villages often grew up around castles. Later, when towns became important, castles became part of a town’s defences.

Defence of a castle depended on its position. Some castles were built on top of steep hills, others on level ground, but usually consist of heavy walls.

The strongest part of the castle was the donjon or keep, a high towerlike structure. The feudal lord and his family lived on the upper floor of the keep. The servants and a garrison of soldiers usually lived on the first floor. The basement of the castle contained wells and storage space.

new castles continued to be built and old castles improved until the 1500’s. The English Civil War of 1642 to 1649 marked the end of the castle as a dominant feature in warfare since very few castles could stand up to heavy artillery.

In the late 1700’s, scholarly architects became interested in the Middle Ages and started a Gothic Revival. Revivalists began to build mock castles, and in the 1800’s, many wealthy people built country houses to look like castles in the style of the 1200s.

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Hohenschwangau, Germany Bojnice Castle, Slovakia

Obidos Castle, Spain Trakai Castle, Lithuania

Castle. When I was young, I read stories about princess and princes, kings and queens and knights who live in fairytale castles. Yes or no?

Palace. Are there castles in your town, city, region or country? Are they popular attractions?

Fortress. My friends and I have visited castles. Would you like to visit castles, palaces and fortresses around the world? Where would you like to go?

Outer Walls. What might happen in the future?

Moat. My friends and I would to own a castle.

Gate, Drawbridge. Should people renovate, refurbish and build more castles, instead of only new, modern buildings?

Chambord Castle, France Burg Eltz, Germany
Schloss Vianden, Luxembourg Osaka Castle, Japan


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