There is no doubt that castles are among the most popular historic sites worldwide. Most of the castles we have today have been constructed several centuries ago and have been fortified and renovated several times. But those structures and complexes still remind this generation of the former glory of past civilizations and eras.
These days, castle enthusiasts explore various castles in different countries. The list of those could be immense and truly fascinating to explore. Here are the top 10 largest castles in the world, based on their total land area.
10. Edinburgh Castle
The 10th biggest castle in the world dominates the skyline in the city of Edinburgh in Scotland. Interestingly, its structure is constructed in a volcanic crag that is fortunately extinct. The total land area is 35,737 square meters. St. Margaret’s Chapel is its oldest surviving edifice, dating back to the early 12th century. Several buildings that are part of the castle were built in the 16th century. Its name was derived from the term ‘Din Eidyn,’ which means ‘the fortress of Eidyn.’ The castle’s history can be explored by tourists through guided tours throughout it.
9. Citadel of Aleppo
Standing 50 meters high and covering a land area of 39,804 square meters, is a partly preserved fortress in Aleppo, Syria. The castle has undergone Crusader-era fortifications. According to research, the site had been used for various purposes in as early as the 3rd millennium B.C. It was subsequently occupied by the Greeks, the Byzantines, the Ayyubids, and the Mamluks. The existing structure was constructed by the Byzantines in the 13th century. The castle also served as a stronghold for the Crusader.
8. Himeji Castle
The 41,468-square meter hilltop castle is located in Himeji, in the prefecture of Hyogo in Japan. It serves as an existing sample of the prototype oriental castle architecture. There are 83 buildings all equipped with defensive systems dating back to the feudal period. The brilliant white structure is complemented by a supposed resemblance of the complex to a bird that is taking flight. The castle was originally built as a fort in the 14th century. After that, it had undergone several modifications. The present complex was completed in 1609. Fortunately, it survived ravages of wars and natural calamities.
7. Buda Castle
The vast palace has a total land area of 44,674 square meters. It is situated in the southern portion of the Castle Hill, found in Budapest, Hungary. It was constructed in the 13th century as a fort against Mongol raiders. Several years after its construction, it was fortified, a project that was completed in 1265. Buda Castle has since undergone several renovations following a number of attacks from intruders and of wars. Today, it houses some museums, which include the National Gallery.
6. Spis Castle
The 49,485-square meter castle is Slovakia’s most popular castle ruin. It is now among the biggest castle complexes in Europe. The first incarnation, built in the 12th century, collapsed due to tectonic quakes. The structure we see today was constructed in the early 13th century specifically for anticipated Tatar incursions. From being a fortress, the castle was converted into a palatial home for Hungarian noble families in the last succeeding hundreds of years. In 1780, a massive fire destroyed much of the Spis Castle. Its remains are now a National Cultural Monument and a UNESCO World Heritage.
5. Hohensalzburg Castle
Hohensalzburg Castle is also known as Hohensalzburg Fortress. It is a well preserved citadel in Salzburg, Austria. It is among the biggest medieval fortresses that still exist in central Europe, covering 54,523 square meters in land area. The main structure was constructed in 1077 and was eventually expanded in the centuries that followed. Since it is located atop Salzburg, it is believed that the fortress was never captured by enemies. Inside it is the Fortress Museum that currently displays collections of ancient weapons, historic musical instruments, and Roman coins. The views from the castle are breathtaking and could easily make the trip worth it.
4. Windsor Castle
The biggest castle in England is also the oldest and largest currently inhabited castle in the world. It serves as one of Queen Elizabeth II’s official residences. She spends several weekends every year here. It is also used for several private and state functions. Its total land area is 54,835 square meters that cover interesting structures, which include St. George’s Chapel, Queen Mary’s dollhouse, and State Apartments. The castle also has an area that serves as a burial site for ten monarchs, including the controversial Henry VIII and his wife Jane Seymour. The castle has an interesting history since its construction in the 1070’s.
3. Prague Castle
The biggest castle complex in the world is logically the most iconic landmark in the Czech Republic. It sprawls over an area of 66,761 square meters. The castle has become the seat for Czech monarchs since its construction in 880 AD. It also served as a residence of religious leaders and Holy Roman emperors. Today, it functions as an official house for heads of state. The castle showcases a tremendous amount of historical information, artifacts, and archeological findings. There are many other interesting attractions, including tower views, the gothic architecture, and the Saint Vitus Cathedral, which houses crown jewels. There are even various galleries in and around Prague Castle.
2. Mehrangarh Fort
This huge Indian castle covers a land area of 81,227 square meters. Situated in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, the fort is rising 400 feet above the city. Its imposing thick walls enclose a number of palaces with expansive courtyards and intricate carvings. It was originally constructed in 1459 but most of the structures that stand today were built in the 17th century.
1. Malbork Castle
The biggest castle in the world covers an area of 143,591 square meters. Located in Poland, Malbork is a medieval fortified complex that is enclosed within very thick walls. It was built in the 13th century by the Teutonic Knights, a Roman Catholic religious order based in Germany. In 1466, it served as a home to the Polish monarchy. The currently restored castle has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site, which contains several interesting attractions like a monastery, a vast palace, and a museum that displays medieval works, weapons, and items identified with the Teutonic Knights.