Thursday, December 9, 2010
Extravagant Castles Around The World
No place symbolizes the extremes of the romantic, fantastical castle ideal like Neuschwanstein Castle, rising from the hills near Germany’s border with Austria. The brainchild of Ludwig II of Bavaria — who also built several other extravagant castles, and left behind plans for still more — the 19th-century castle is a turret-bedecked, theatrically ornate confection that seems made for a fairy tale. No wonder Neuschwanstein reportedly served as the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.
Bounded by water on all sides, Eilean Donan Castle commands a dramatic landscape from a small island in the Scottish Highlands. In the castle’s early days, waterways were the main transit arteries in this inlet-filled region, and the castle — perched at the convergence of three sea lochs — was perfectly situated for defense. First built in the early 13th century as protection against marauding Vikings, Eilean Donan Castle has been associated with the Clan MacRae for centuries.
A castle on an island is one thing, but a castle in a cave? Slovenia has just that in the form of Predjama Castle, built in the mouth of Postojna Cave, about 100 miles east of Venice, Italy. The in-cave location provided excellent defensive capabilities for the castle, whose history goes back at least to the 13th century; these days, cave tours are popular with visitors to the castle.