When you think about castles, it probably comes to your mind the image of the grand palace Windsor, the towers of Neuschwanstein or the Gothic splendor of the Bran castle. But to the east of Europe, there are castles that are equally enchanting. Here are nine of the most beautiful castles in Asia.
Himeji Castle, Japan
Dating from 1333, Himeji castle is probably the most famous castle in Asia and this is because it is the largest and the most beautiful Japanese castle. Despite the bombing at the end of the Second World War, which took place in the nearby city and the earthquake Great Hanshin in 1995, the castle was preserved in outstanding condition until our days and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Hwaseong Fortress, South Korea
Built in the late 18th century by King Jeongjo, in honor of his father, Hwaseong Fortress is another Asian castle, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The wall of the fortress has a length of 5.5 km and is equipped with gates to the north, south, east and west. Despite the military facilities available during the war with North Korea, the fortress has been seriously affected, so its complete repair was not possible. The traces left by the wars add a plus of charm to the construction, turning it into a popular tourist attraction.
San Domingo Fort, Taiwan
Also known under the name of Hongmao Castle, San Domingo Fort may not be the most beautiful in the world, but its history is truly fascinating. Initially, the wooden fort built by the Spanish in 1629, was occupied by the Dutch, and after the second Opium War it was occupied by the British. The Victorian style house was once the residence of the British Consulate and now is a museum that offers its visitors a peek into the past history of these places.
Mehrangarh Fort, India
The ridiculously thick walls of the fortress, which was built atop a hill in Rajastan, add even more greatness to the structure. To enter the fortress, dating from the 15th century, which is still owned by the Maharajah of Jodhpur, you have to pass seven gates. Once inside, you will understand why the fortress is so well protected, because the fantastic interiors are just as exciting as the building itself.
Krak des Chevaliers, Syria
Known as the Castle of the Kurds, these being its first inhabitants in the 11th century, Krak des Chevaliers played an important role during the crusades, being occupied by the Hospitable Knights between 1110 and 1250. T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) got his eye on this building, which is now part of the UNESCO World Heritage List and is considered “perhaps the best preserved and most admired castle in the world”. If this castle has represented a top tourist attraction in the 30s, when it was under the control of the French government, the Syrian civil war has transformed this historic location in an area to be avoided for now.
Gwalior Fort, India
The oldest part of the Gwalior fort, one of the largest and most beautiful buildings of its kind in India, dates back from the early 8th century. Among the buildings and the impressive structures of the fortress are included two Saharstrabahu temples. Dedicated to Vishnu goddess, the 11th century temples are in ruins today, but they are still pretty impressive. The most grandiose part of the fortress is the palace Man Singh.
Matsumoto Castle, Japan
If Himeji Castle is the most famous castle in Japan, there are many people who claim that Matsumoto is the most romantic one, due to its location on the waterfront, in the “Japanese Alps” in Marsumo. Built in 1504, the castle was threatened by the specter of demolition at the end of the 19th century, when it was sold at an auction. After a successful local campaign, it was saved and today impresses all its visitors.
Arg-é Bam, Iran
Arg-é Bam’s history is longer than the history of any other castle in this list, its origins being lost starting with the 6th century BC. The most significant part of its history is related to the earthquake in 2003, which destroyed 80% of the citadel included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and has the honor of being the largest residence built on earth. Many countries including Japan, Italy and France are currently contributing to help rebuilt the castle, which someday will allow the whole world to admire its unique beauty.
Kerak Castle, Jordan
Built by the French in 1140, Kerak is one of the largest crusader castles in the world. Placed strategically along the commercial route linking Damascus by Egypt and Mecca, it was conquered by Sultan Saladin in 1189, after a siege of two years. Currently, Kerac Archaeological Museum tells its visitors about the Crusades, about the Ottoman occupation and other important events in the history of this location.