While Europe does have what is arguably some of the best selections in terms of breathtakingly-beautiful and interesting castles, there is an equal amount of castles ‘round the world that are equally beautiful, and equally awe-inspiring, as well.
1. Chateau de Versailles (France, Europe)
It is said that in building this magnificent castle complex, Louis XIV managed to almost completely bankrupt the state treasury during its four different building campaigns. In Louis’ time, Versailles became the seat of the French government. In an attempt to centralise the first government (an attempt which succeeded) the French monarch not only lived at the palace, but engineered it so that Versailles also became the home of the country’s government offices, as well as nobles, courtiers, and their vast retinues. Some of the most spectacular attractions at Versailles include the fabled Hall of Mirrors, as well as the exquisite gardens surrounding the complex.
2. Krak des Chevaliers (Syria, The Middle East)
Author T.E. Lawrence once described the Krak des Chevaliers as “the best preserved and most wholly admirable castle in the world.” With a pivotal role in the coastal defence of Syria in the time of the Crusaders, the castle remains to be the most complete and well-preserved relic of the period.
3. Hearst Castle (California, The United States of America)
Although America does not officially have lords and ladies, princes and princesses, and so on, they do have their own nobility. Home of famed newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst, the estate is a mix of architectural ideologies that Hearst picked up in his travels. An example of this is how the facade sports the look of a sixteenth-century Spanish cathedral, while both the indoor and outdoor pools show influences of Roman temples and baths.
4. Castillo de San Felipe (Colombia, South America)
Founded in 1533, it took over a century of slave labour to finish this imposing fortress. Built from red brick and concrete, it is a testament to its builders’ superb military strategy and engineering. Also equally impressive are the fort’s many underground tunnel networks.
5. Angkor Wat (Cambodia, Asia)
The seat of the Khmer empire from the ninth to the fifteenth century, this UNESCO World Heritage Site spans a total of 1,150 square miles. The castle and temple ruins alone hold their own at a total acreage of 200 square miles, and is a site for mysticism and echoes of the country’s rich cultural heritage.