From Hogwarts to Game of Thrones, Dragons and Dungeons, the backdrop of a castle has been an influential presence. These dream-like structures are reminders of human penchant for grandeur and the strategies embedded within it. Not only did these structures serve as defensive fortifications, they were also home to fancies and imagination. Today, some of them present a gateway to not just the past, but also images of the future and our present by virtue of their inclusion in popular representation.
Here are 7 castles from around the world that will give wings to your fantasies!
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany
Ludwig II, the ‘Mad King’ or the ‘Fairy Tale King’ believed in setting in stone his imagination and creative fantasies. Although, he ignored the Bavarian administration he was supposed to oversee as the king, he did manage to leave behind a cookie tale of wonders. The Neuschwanstein Castle is the living embodiment of that dream. Perched on a rugged cliff, with a mountainous terrain as the backdrop, the castle was intended to “embody the true spirit of the medieval German castle”, as the king wrote in a letter to Richard Wagner.
It is no wonder that this castle is also an inspiration to Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Alnwick Castle, United Kingdom
South of the border of Scotland, lies the Alnwick Castle. Built following the Norman conquest, this was where Hogwarts came alive. The seat of the Duke of Northumberland, the castle can be visited by taking a conveyance from Newcastle, which is 45 minutes away.This is the site, where Harry first tried his flying skills and its appearance in the films has helped shape the public imagination regarding what castles should look like. The film has also featured in notable films like Elizabeth, making this castle a tourist favourite.
Bran Castle, Romania
Situated on the border between Transylvania and Wallachia, Bran Castle is famous as the home of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Lots of tourists gravitate towards this national landmark in Romania, owing to its architecture as well as association with the stories of Count Dracula. Moreover, this fortress has also been home to Romanian royalty like Queen Marie. The presence of which can still be found in the castle.
Hohenwerfen Castle, Austria
High above the Austrian town of Werfen in the Salzach valley, sits the Hohenwerfen Castle. The castle is surrounded by the Berchtesgaden Alps and the adjacent Tennengebirge mountain range. Hohenwerfen served Salzburg’s royalty for generations, and also served as a state prison. It was known to have a sinister reputation as a state prison, a fact that does sound chillworthy when juxtaposed with the imagery of this mammoth structure. On the brighter side, the castle famously makes an appearance in the classic movie, Sound of Music, during the Do-re-mi song.
Dover Castle, United Kingdom
Located in Kent, this medieval castle has been described as the “Key to England” due to its defensive significance throughout history, and is also the largest in England. This castle has survived through the ages to present with us a variety of stories from the medieval ages to cold war time secrecies. Moreover, it is quite possibly the jack of all trades when it comes to being represented in films. From the Avengers to The Other Boleyn Girl and just about every Shakespeare story ever, Dover Castle has been a significant character throughout.