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Castles and palaces in Europe that make you believe in a fairy tale

Dal Kikin
December 4, 2018

Picture: iStock/FairytaleDesign

If you are thinking about where to go next time, take a closer look at Europe, or rather, at the fabulous palaces and residences, many of which are still functioning. Fans of romantic (or even mystical) adventures will certainly appreciate our selection of ancient European castles, which really deserve attention.

Chateau de Chambord, France (XVI century)

Photo: iStock/JoseIgnacioSoto

Chambord - perhaps one of the most recognizable castles of France, which is considered to be the architectural masterpiece of the Renaissance. It was built by order of Francis I, who dreams of spending more time near his beloved lady, Countess Turi, who lives nearby. According to numerous historical studies, Leonardo da Vinci himself took part in the design of this masterpiece, so the building, which has 426 rooms, 77 stairs, 282 fireplaces and 800 decorated capitals, is truly worthy of attention. You can admire the castle, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, at any time of the year, but it looks particularly impressive in the autumn and winter period. About 13 years ago, the castle, on the second floor of which the branch of the Museum of Hunting and Nature is now located, acquired the status of a public social and commercial enterprise.

Castle Alcazar, Spain (9th century)

Photo: iStock/mmeee

Over the years of its existence, the residence of the Spanish kings Alcazar (Spanish Alcázar), located directly on a rock in the historic part of the city of Segovia, managed to visit not only the royal castle, but also a fortress, a prison, and even an artillery academy. Back in 1953, the Alcazar, which was considered to be the favorite residence of the kings of Castile in the Middle Ages, became a museum with furniture, interiors, a collection of weapons and portraits of Spanish kings. Now this is one of the most visited places in Spain, and every tourist considers it his duty to bypass all 11 rooms in the castle and climb the highest tower - the tower of Juan II.

Residence Alhambra, Spain (XIII century)

Photo: iStock/Perszing1982

This castle, which is a complex, was built about two centuries - from 1230 to 1492, during the rule of the Narsid dynasty. The residence essentially consists of two picturesque courtyards, connected by a passage and surrounded by palaces, churches, gardens and residential buildings. You can wander for a long time on the complex, which is considered a real wonder of the world, and look at the decorative elements, paintings, architectural delights and the abundance of Muslim motifs, harmoniously fit into the overall atmosphere of the grandiose building.

One of the largest castles in Belgium (Belgian Château de Walzin), erected by Bishop of Ditvin (Theodon) of Bavaria by Bishop of Liege for the purpose of defense, is located directly on a rock in the village of the same name. It is noteworthy that Walzen acquired his romantic appearance after restoration work and restoration (the first was carried out by the architect Emile Jeanlet in 1881, and the second, in which Olivier Flanne participated, in 1930). The castle, which is still owned by the count and countess de Limburg-Stirum, the direct descendants of Henry IV of the Duke of Limburg and Guillaume de la Marc, is closed to visitors, but no one forbids them to admire from afar.

Schönbrunn Palace, Austria (XVII century)

Photo: iStock/AndreyKrav

Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany, Bavaria (XIX century)

Photo: iStock/RudyBalasko

Neuschwanstein Castle (German: Schloß Neuschwanstein) is located near the town of Füssen in southwestern Bavaria, and, remarkably, has become an inspiration for architects when building the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland Paris. Historians, by the way, claim that Peter Tchaikovsky was also fascinated with romantic views of the castle, and it was after visiting the residence of King Ludwig II that he had the idea of ??creating the ballet Swan Lake. In addition, Neuschwanstein was featured in the 1968 film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang as the castle of the fictional land of Vulgaria, as well as in the 1955 films Ludwig II: Glitter and the Fall of the King, 1972 Ludwig and Ludwig of Bavaria.

Sanssouci Palace, Germany (XVIII century)

The name of the most famous palace of Frederick the Great (Schloss Sanssouci) translates as “no worries” and clearly reflects the mood of the Prussian king, who wanted to build something just for the soul and personally participated in the decoration of the rooms. According to the ruler, this castle was to become a place where a person could be left alone with nature and quietly enjoy life. That is why there are multi-level vineyards in front of the palace, and the residence itself is located on the territory of a huge park with flower beds and numerous fountains, among which you can leisurely stroll and reflect on the eternal.

Hohenschwangau Castle, Germany, Bavaria (XIX century)

Photo: iStock/MarekUsz

The fate of this castle would have been less rosy if King Maximilian II had once discovered the ruins of the Schwanstein fortress and had not bought the land from its owners, aristocrats, and in 1832 would not have begun building its summer residence on the site. The neogothic style was developed by the architect Domenico Quaglio, and now the castle is considered to be one of the most unusual and beautiful. After the death of Maximilian, his son Ludwig lived here for some time, but then he decided to build his own castle, which surpassed Hohenschwangau in popularity, the romantic palace of Neuschwanstein.