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10 world's most magnificent castles

1. The Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet

Potala Palace is a large complex which located in the Tibet autonomous region, Lhasa. The entire buildings were formerly used for administrative and religious purposes. It was named after Mount Potala, the abode of Chenresig or Avalokitesvara. The Potala palace was the chief residence of Dalai Lama until 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala, India, after an invasion and failed uprasing in 1959. Today, the Potala Palace has been converted into a museum by the Chinese government. The building measures 400 metres east-west and 350 metres north-south, with sloping stones walls averaging 3 m thick, and 5 m thick at the base and with copper poured into the foundations to help proof it against earthquake. This thirteen stories of buildings were completed over 1000 rooms, 10, 000 shrines and about 200, 000 statues-soar 117 metres on top of Marpo Ri, thye "Red Hill", rising more than 300 m in total above the valley floor.

2. Mont SaintMichel, Normandy, France

Mont Saint-Michel (Saint Michael) is a rocky tidal island and a commune in Normandy, France. It is located about one kilometre off the country's north coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches with the population of 41 peoples.

3. Predjamski Castle, Slovenia

The castle was first mentioned in the year 1274 with the German name Luegg, when the Patriarch of Aquileia built the castle in Gothic style. The castle was built under a natural rocky arch high in the stone wall to make access to it difficult. It was later acquired and expanded by the Luegg noble family, also known as the Knights of Adelsberg (the German name of Postojna). A secret natural shaft leads out of the castle, which Erazem ordered to be enlarged, and leads into Postojna Cave. This shaft allowed Erazem to secretly supply the castle with food in the time of the siege; he also used it to continue with his robberies.

4.Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

Neuschwanstein Castle (German: Schloss Neuschwanstein) is a 19th-century Gothic Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner. The palace was intended as a personal refuge for the reclusive king, but it was opened to the paying public immediately after his death in 1886. Since then over 60 million people have visited Neuschwanstein Castle. More than 1.3 million people visit annually, with up to 6,000 per day in the summer. The palace has appeared prominently in several movies and was the inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle.

5.Matsumoto Castle, Nagano, Japan

Matsumoto Castle also known as the "Crow Castle" because of its black exterior, is one of Japan's premier historic casteles. It is located in the city of Matsumoto, in Nagano Prefecture and is within easy reach of Tokyo by road or rail.

The keep (tenshukaku), which was completed in the late 16th century, maintains its original wooden interiors and external stonework. It is listed as a National Treasure of Japan.

Matsumoto Castle is a flatland castle (hirajiro) because it is not built on a hilltop or amid rivers, but on a plain. Its complete defences would have included an extensive system of inter-connecting walls, moats, and gatehouses.

6.Hunyad Castle, Romania

The castle is a relic of the Hunyadi dynasty. In 1409, the castle was given to John Hunjadi's father, Voyk, by Sigismund, king of Hungary, as severance. The castle was restored between 1446 and 1453 by his son John Hunjadi. It was built mainly in Gothic style, but has Renaissance architectural elements. It features tall and strong defense towers, an interior yard and a drawbridge. Built over the site of an older fortification and on a rock above the small river Zlaşti, the castle is a large and imposing building with tall and diversely colored roofs, towers and myriad windows and balconies adorned with stone carvings.

The current castle is the result of a fanciful restoration campaign undertaken after a disastrous fire and many decades of total neglect. It has been noted that modern "architects projected to it their own wistful interpretations of how a great Gothic castle should look".

7.Malbork Castle, Malbork, Polandia

8.Palacio da Pena, Sintra, Portugal

The Pena Palace has a profusion of styles much in accordance with the exotic taste of the Romanticism. The intentional mixture of eclectic styles includes the Neo-Gothic, Neo-Manueline, islamic and Neo-Renaissance. References to other prominent Portuguese buildings such as the Belém Tower are also present.

Almost the entire palace stands on rock. Structurally, it can be divided in four sections:

  • the foundations and its enveloping walls, with two gateways (one of which is protected by a drawbridge)
  • the restored structure of the old convent, and the clock tower
  • the Arches Yard in front of the chapel, with its wall of Moorish arches
  • the palatial zone and its cylindric bastion, with interiors decorated in the cathédrale style.

9.Löwenburg Castle, Kassel, Germany

Surrounded by thick vegetation, the apparently antiquated ruin was built high above a valley called the Wolf's Ravine about a half a kilometer from the castle where the Landgrave had his court. Begun as a picturesque piece of oversize landscape ornamentation for the park behind his normal royal castle called Wilhelmshöhe, the Löwenburg which started with a few rooms that could be used, hadwithin eight years, turned into a completely Gothic mountain castle.. In consequence, the design of the facade and how the rooms were used, experienced many changes over time.

Within the Wilhelmshöhe Hill Park which sits on one end of the city of Kassel, there stands what appears to be a medieval castle. However, the Löwenburg or "Lion's Castle" was ordered to be built by the Landgrave Wilhelm IX from Hessen Kassel (1743 -1821) (later he gained the higher title of Elector Wilhelm I - Kurfürst Wilhelm I), the Walt Disney of his era, over a period of eight years between 1793 and 1801 as a romantic ruin. It was carfelully designed by his royal court building inspector Heinrich Christoph Jussow (1754 - 1825) who had been trained as an architect and construction project manager in France, Italy, and England, and who had gone to England specifically to study romantic English ruins and draw up a plan for the Landgrave's garden folly. Today scholars regard Löwenburg Castle ruins as one of the most significant buildings of its genre, in addition to being one of the first major neo-Gothic buildings in Germany.

10.Prague Castle, Prague, Ceko

Prague Castle is a castle in Prague where the Kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman Emperors and presidents of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic have had their offices. The Bohemian Crown Jewels are kept here. According to the Guiness Book of World Records, the Prague Castle is the largest coherent castle complex in the world with an area of almost 70000 m², being 570 meters in length and an average of about 130 meters wide.

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