Top 10 Abandoned Castles Around the World: A Journey Through History and Mystery
Have you ever wondered what secrets lie behind the walls of abandoned castles around the world? These majestic and mysterious ruins are more than just piles of stones. They are witnesses of history, culture, and legends that can spark your imagination and curiosity. In this article, we will take you on a journey to explore 10 stunning and mysterious abandoned castles around the world, from Ireland to Ukraine, from New York to Germany. You will learn about their origins, their architecture, and their stories that will make you feel like you are traveling back in time. Whether you are a fan of history, adventure, or fantasy, you will find something to fascinate you in these amazing castles.
Top 10 Abandoned Castles Around the World
1. Heidelberg Castle in Germany
One of the most romantic abandoned castles around the world is Heidelberg Castle in Germany. This castle was built in the 13th century by the Prince Electors of the Holy Roman Empire, who ruled over the region of Heidelberg for centuries. The castle was a splendid palace, with Renaissance and Baroque architecture, and ornate gardens. Particularly, there is a large wine barrel that could hold 130,000 liters of wine. The castle was destroyed by lightning and wars several times. Nevertheless, it was always rebuilt until it was finally abandoned in the 18th century. Heidelberg Castle is now a ruin, but you can still see its beauty and charm from its towers and terraces that overlook the city of Heidelberg and the Neckar River.
2. Frankenstein’s Castle in Germany
One of the most spooky abandoned castles around the world is Frankenstien’s Castle in Germany. This castle has a spooky name and a reputation for being haunted by local myths and legends. In fact, the Frankenstein family, who ruled over the region for centuries, built this castle in the 13th century. The castle was involved in many wars and conflicts and was eventually abandoned in the 18th century.
Frankenstein’s Castle is said to be the inspiration for Mary Shelley’s famous novel Frankenstein. Mary visited the area in 1814 and heard stories about an alchemist who experimented with human bodies at the castle. It is also said to be haunted by ghosts, witches, and werewolves. The castle is an ideal destination to host an annual Halloween festival that attracts thousands of visitors.
3. Hamilton Palace in England
One of the most extravagant abandoned castles around the world is Hamilton Palace in England. A controversial tycoon named Nicholas van Hoogstraten built this castle in the 20th century. He wanted to create a lavish mansion that could reflect his wealth and power. However, the castle was never completed due to his imprisonment for murder in 2002. The unfinished mansion is even larger than Buckingham Palace and has a mausoleum on its grounds where he planned to be buried with his treasures. The castle is surrounded by high walls and security cameras and is guarded by dogs and guards. The castle is now a mystery, as no one knows what lies inside or what will happen to it.
4. Fort Mahon in France
Another one of the most tragic abandoned castles around the world is Fort Mahon in France. This castle was built in the 18th century on the coast of Pas-de-Calais, as part of the fortification system of France. The castle was a massive structure, with four bastions, a moat, and a drawbridge. The castle was used as a military base and a prison until it was occupied by the Nazis during World War II. The Nazis then used the castle as a forced labor camp, where thousands of prisoners were tortured and killed. The castle was liberated by the Allies in 1944, but it was left to decay. The castle is now a memorial site, but you can still see the traces of the atrocities that happened there.
5. Fort Alexander in Russia
If you are looking for abandoned castles around the world that are both fascinating and frightening, you might want to visit Fort Alexander in Russia. I did even call this place one of the most scary abandoned islands in the world.
This castle was built in the 19th century on a small island in the Gulf of Finland. It was a part of the defense system of St. Petersburg. The castle was designed as a circular fortress, with two levels of gun batteries and a central courtyard. Yet, the castle was never used in combat, but it had a dark history. In the early 20th century, the castle was converted into a research lab for deadly bacterial infections such as plague, anthrax, and cholera. The lab was closed after the Russian Revolution, and the castle was abandoned. The castle is now a popular tourist attraction. You can still see the remains of the lab equipment and the signs of biohazard.
6. Squire’s Castle in Ohio
One of the most charming abandoned castles around the world is Squire’s Castle in Ohio. This castle was built in the 19th century by an oil tycoon named Feargus B. Squire. He wanted to create a gatehouse for a larger estate that he planned to build on his land. However, he never finished his project and sold his property in 1922. The gatehouse was left alone, becoming a park attraction that is open to visitors. The gatehouse is a small but cozy stone building, with Gothic windows and arches, and a fireplace inside.
Squire’s Castle is rumored to be haunted by the ghost of Squire’s wife. She died there after falling down the stairs or being scared by a deer, depending on the version of the story.
7. Pidhirtsi Castle in Ukraine
Another one of the most impressive abandoned castles around the world is Pidhirtsi Castle in Ukraine. This castle was built in the 17th century by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’s Crown Hetman Stanislaw Koniecpolski, who wanted to create a luxurious residence that could rival Versailles. The castle was designed in the Renaissance style, with a large courtyard, a chapel, and a park. The castle hosted many lavish parties and events until it was plundered and burned by the Russian army in 1702. Later, the castle was restored but suffered more damage during World War I and World War II. In 1956, a fire destroyed most of the interior, leaving only the walls and some paintings. The castle is now undergoing renovation, but you can still see its majestic facade and imagine its former glory.
8. Bannerman Castle in New York
If you are looking for abandoned castles around the world that are closer to home, you might want to check out Bannerman Castle in New York. I have mentioned this castle in a list of special castles around the world, but I think it’s worth being on this list too.
A Scottish-American businessman named Francis Bannerman bought an island on the Hudson River in 1900 to store his surplus military equipment. He then decided to build a castle on the island, inspired by his ancestral home in Scotland. The castle was decorated with turrets, towers, and arches, and had a large arsenal inside. However, in 1920, an explosion caused by gunpowder destroyed part of the castle. Later, in 1969, another fire burned down most of the remaining structures. The castle is now a ruin, but you can still see its distinctive shape from the shore or take a boat tour to visit the island.
9. Gwrych Castle in Wales
One of the most haunted abandoned castles around the world is Gwrych Castle in Wales. An eccentric nobleman named Lloyd Hesketh Bamford-Hesketh built this castle in the 19th century. He wanted to create a Gothic fantasy that could rival his ancestors’ medieval castles. Indeed, the castle was a magnificent residence, with 128 rooms, 18 towers, and 250 acres of gardens and woodlands. The castle hosted many guests and events until it was sold to various owners after World War II.
In the 1980s, the castle was abandoned, becoming a ruin that is now haunted by ghosts and legends. Gwrych Castle is said to be haunted by the ghost of Winifred Cochrane, the Countess of Dundonald, who inherited the castle from her husband and died there in 1924. The castle is also said to be haunted by other spirits. There is a servant girl who fell from a tower, a monk who wanders in the gardens, and a black dog that guards the entrance.
10. Ballycarbery Castle in Ireland
One of the most enchanting abandoned castles around the world is Ballycarbery Castle in Ireland. This castle was built around the 16th century by the McCarthy clan, who ruled over the region of Kerry for centuries. The castle was damaged by Oliver Cromwell’s troops in the mid-1600s, who were sent to suppress the Irish rebellion. Since then, the castle has been left to decay, but not without charm. The castle is covered with ivy and surrounded by green fields and blue waters, creating a fairy-tale-like scenery. You can visit the castle for free and explore its ruins. Nevertheless, be careful not to climb too high or disturb the wildlife that lives there. Definitely, Ballycarbery Castle is a perfect place to experience the beauty and mystery of Ireland’s history.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Abandoned Castles around the World
How many castles are there left in the world?
Actually, there is no definitive answer to this question. Different sources may have different definitions and criteria for what constitutes a castle. However, some estimates suggest that there are around 25,000 castles in Europe alone. And there are thousands more castles in other parts of the world, such as Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Therefore, the total number of castles in the world could be well over 50,000.
Are there any old castles left?
Yes, there are many old castles that have survived the ravages of time and history. Some of them are still inhabited or open to the public. For example, the Citadel of Aleppo in Syria is one of the oldest castles in the world, dating back to around 3000 BC. The Windsor Castle in England is the oldest castle that is still actively in use today, built in 1070 AD. The Prague Castle in the Czech Republic is the largest castle complex in the world. It covers an area of 70,000 square meters.
What country has the most castles?
According to dw.com, Germany has the most castles in the world, with an estimated 25,000 castles. However, other countries also have a high number of castles per square mile. To illustrate, Wales has over 600 castles, or France has over 11,000 castles.
Is it possible to buy a castle?
Yes, it is possible to buy a castle, even if you are not royalty or a noble. There are many castles for sale around the world, ranging from affordable ruins to luxurious residences. You can find castle listings on international property websites that specialize in luxury real estate. Nevertheless, buying a castle also comes with many challenges and responsibilities. You must consider maintenance costs, legal issues, restoration work, and cultural preservation.
Where is the biggest castle ever?
This depends on how you measure the size of a castle.
- If you measure by land area, the biggest castle ever is Malbork Castle in Poland. It covers an area of 143,591 square meters.
- If you measure by volume, the biggest castle ever is Windsor Castle in England. It has a volume of 483,000 cubic meters.
- If you measure by height, the biggest castle ever is Himeji Castle in Japan. It has a height of 92 meters.
The End of Our Journey: 10 Amazing Abandoned Castles Around the World
We hope you enjoyed this article about the top 10 abandoned castles around the world. These stunning and mysterious ruins are not only beautiful to look at, but also rich in history, culture, and legends that can inspire you to learn more about them. If you ever have a chance to visit or explore these castles, make sure you follow some safety precautions, such as wearing comfortable shoes, bringing a flashlight, and respecting the local laws and customs. You can also check out some nearby attractions, such as museums, parks, or restaurants that can enhance your experience. If you liked this article, please share it with your friends, family, or fellow travelers on social media or in the comments section below. We would love to hear your thoughts, experiences, or questions about these abandoned castles around the world.
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