Finding the oldest castles in the world isn’t as straightforward as it may sound. In the first place, even though defined as defensive structures built as a residence for noble personalities or rulers, it’s not usually very clear what main purpose castles serve. Most of us would agree that Moscow Kremlin isn’t a castle, but what would you say about the Japanese and Indian fortresses?
There are many oldest breathtaking castles that make it quite difficult to come up with a definitive list of top 10 oldest and biggest castles in the world. We’ve strived to come up with one such possible list, featuring some of the oldest castles.
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10. Alcazar of Segovia
This is a stone castle found in the old Spanish city of Segovia. It has a shape typical of a ship’s bow and stands on a small rocky hill. Alcazar of Segovia is among the most distinctive castles in Spain. It was initially built as a fortress during the 12th century but served as a palace for royalty, a state prison as well as military academy ever since. It forms the inspirational theme for Cinderella Castle of Walt Disney and one of the oldest castles in the world.
Image Credit: Famous Wonders
9. Citadel of Aleppo
If you think you have seen the oldest castle on the planet, think again. Citadel of Aleppo is arguably the world’s oldest castle, dating back to at least the mid-3rd millennium BC. It’s located on top of a 50m high hill in Aleppo, Syria. It has been occupied subsequently by some of the world’s prominent civilizations, including Byzantines, Greeks, Mamluks, Ayyubids and several others. Most of the prevalent constructions of the castle today date back to the 13th century.
Image Credit: Wikipedia
8. Hohensalzburg Castle
This is actually one of the oldest and most preserved European castles, found in Salzburg, on a mountain top. It’s actually an important part of the list of the world’s oldest castles. Its name Hohensalzburg is of German origin, meaning High Salzburg Fortress. The castle traces its origin to as early as the 11th century and then underwent expansion during the 14th century. The castle has a length of 820ft (250m) and 490ft (150m) wide. Apart from being one of the oldest in Europe, it’s also among the largest medieval castles.
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7. Buda Castle
This castle is found at Castle Hill’s southern tip in Budapest, Hungary. The castle was fortified first during the 13th century following the prior attacks by the Mongol that led the citizens of Buda to try and build their own defended neighborhood. Today, the castle stands with a blend of several architectural styles which range from Baroque to Gothic. This is as a result of repeated invasions that led to its rebuilding using different styles in the course of time. It’s considered the world’s oldest castle with the highest number of mixed types of architecture.
Image Credit: Ancient Origin
6. Himeji Castle
This is arguably the most beautiful and one of the oldest castles in Japan that managed to escape the ravages of earthquakes, bombings and civil war. Initially, the site, where the castle stands, hosted a fortress during the 14th century. Over the centuries, the fort has been gradually expanded to be what it is today. The castle was completed in the year 1609 as it stands today. Himeji Castle is actually one of the oldest castles in the world that have managed to stand the test of time.
Image Credit: Japan Guide
5. Windsor Castle
This actually used to be the residence of royalty, located in Windsor, in the Berkshire County, England. It’s notable for having been associated with the royal family of Britain as well as its marvelous architecture. The castle hosts over 500 inhabitants who also work in it. Its origin can be traced back to the early 16th century. It’s one of the most beautiful in Europe as well as the oldest castles in the world.
Image Credit: 10 Most Today
4. Edinburgh Castle
This castle rests on an extinct volcanic peak and dominates the Edinburgh’s skyline in Edinburgh, Ireland. Some of the buildings of the castle date back to the 16th century with an exception of St. Margaret’s Chapel, which is the oldest building surviving in Edinburgh Castel. St. Margaret’s Chapel dates back as early as the 12th century. It’s not only one of the oldest but is also among the biggest castles in the world.
Image Credit: Historic Environment Scotland
3. Mehrangarh Fort
Even though it’s officially known as a fort, the Mehrangarh Fort can arguably be considered a castle as well. It rests on a 122 m high hill and has a height of 36m with walls that are 21m wide. To enter the Mehrangarh Fort, there are 7 gates that have to be crossed. It traces its origins back to the year 1459, its construction being attributed to Jodhpur, Rao Jodha following the shifting of capital from Mandore. However, whatever remains today can be traced back to mid-17th century. The greatness of this fort is what makes it sufficient enough to list it among the oldest castles in the world.
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2. Spis Castle
This castle lies in the eastern part of Slovakia and is considered one of the biggest castles in the world. Spis Castle’s main body was first fortified with stone walls during the first half of 13th century while the lower courtyard followed in the mid-15th century. This location is favorable and often used for filming, used to film The Last Legion (202) and Dragonheart (1996).
Image Credit: Slovakia
1. Prague Castle
This castle is found in Prague, Czech Republic, one of the biggest castles in the world. Its construction began as early as 19th century. It has a length of 570m and a width of about 130m. Even though it appears to have some kind of modern architecture on it, it’s considered to have been built with one the best architecture of 19th century.
Image Credit: Grey Line Tours
These castles are not only some of the oldest, but some are also among the world’s most beautiful. This is our list of the arguably the oldest, so you are welcome to present your variances or comments about these castles.
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