Apr 21, 2010

Most Beautiful Castles

Swallow's Nest Castle, Ukraine
The neo-Gothic Swallow's Nest castle perches 130 feet (40 meters) above the Black Sea near Yalta in southern Ukraine. Built by a German noble in 1912, the flamboyant seaside residence now houses an Italian restaurant.Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
Spotlights cast shadows on Edinburgh Castle in Scotland. Built on a dormant volcano, the castle began as a small fortress around the year A.D. 600. Over the centuries it has been the site of scores of battles.
Eilean Donan Castle, Scotland
Built on a small island in Loch Duich in the scenic Scottish highlands, Eilean Donan Castle served first as a defense against Viking raiders in the early 13th century. It lay in ruins for nearly 200 years after English soldiers fighting the Jacobite uprising nearly leveled it in 1719, but it was fully restored in 1932.
Neuschwanstein, Germany
Commanding a view of the bluish-green Alpsee lake and girded by dark forests, King Ludwig's fairy-tale marble castle Neuschwanstein rises from a lofty rock west of Hohenschwangau in Bavaria, Germany.
Prague Castle, Czech Republic
Floodlights wash over Prague Castle and reflect in a glassy Vltava River in Prague, Czech Republic. The Prague Castle complex is the largest of its kind in the world, housing everything from the nation's crown jewels to the offices of the president to Prague's largest church. It also offers the best views of the city.
Spis Castle, Slovakia
The ruins of Spis Castle loom high above the Slovak village of Spisske Podhradie. Stronghold for generations of Hungarian princes, this largest of all central European fortresses was destroyed by fire in 1780.
Bodrum Castle, Turkey
Turkey's Bodrum harbor is home to the Castle of St. Peter, which was built by the Hospitallers in the early 1400s. Suleyman I the Magnificent captured the site in 1522.
Castle of Presule, Italy
A dense winter fog cleared briefly to reveal this fairy-tale scene around the Castle of Presule in South Tirol, Italy. The main castle was built around 1500, but it contains portions of the original fortress erected on the site in the early 13th century.
Burgundy Castle, France
A chateau and church crown fertile fields in the Côte-d'Or, a 30-mile (50-kilometer) strip of land in Bourgogne (Burgundy), France. The Cote-d'Or produces some of France's most venerated wines.
Makarevski Sheltovodskii Monastery, Russia
The Makarevski Sheltovodskii monastery stands silhouetted against a pearly sky as the waters of Russia's Volga River drift by. Originally built in the early 14th century, it was sacked by Tatar forces in 1439 and rebuilt in 1624.
Manobier Castle, Wales
Surrounded by shrubs, Manorbier Castle fits nicely into the Welsh countryside. Built by Norman conquerors in the 11th century at first as a wooden structure and later of stone at this well-preserved castle in Pembrokeshire is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Wales.

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