Trakošćan Castle, Croatia.

imageContributor: figleafniki
Sitting atop a tall hill in northern Croatia, Trakošćan Castle looks like a castle out of a fairytale, proudly peeking its spires out above the tree line, but on closer inspection the signs of neglect have started to mar the centuries old fortification.
Originally built in the 13th century, the large manse was not the product of some lord’s need for a grand home but was instead created as a defensive fortification.
Despite its martial background, its position on top of a verdant forest hill has given it a distinctly romantic appeal.
Down the centuries the castle has been added to and rebuilt a number of times giving it a bit of a varied design sense, but losing none of its beauty.
While the original owner of the castle is unknown, the estate was passed down among a series of Croatian nobles before finally being turned over to the Croatian government in the 1950s.
In 1953 Trakošćan Castle was opened to the public as a museum housing a number of historical displays about the area, the castle, and Croatian history in general.
A man-made lake was also built at the foot of the hill making the view from the castle all the more spectacular.
in recent years the grounds have been neglected and signs of wear and age are beginning to appear.
Despite this, if you have to choose just one to visit while you are visiting Croatia, you can’t beat Trakošćan Castle for sheer storybook looks.
Edited by: EricGrundhauser (Admin)

via Trakošćan Castle | Atlas Obscura.

Lindisfarne Castle, built 1550.

1280px-LindisfarneCastleHolyIslandLindisfarne Castle is a 16th-century castle located on Holy Island, near Berwick-upon-Tweed, Northumberland, England, much altered by Sir Edwin Lutyens in 1901. The island is accessible from the mainland at low tide by means of a causeway.
The castle is located in what was once the very volatile border area between England and Scotland. Not only did the English and Scots fight, but the area was frequently attacked by Vikings. The castle was built in 1550, around the time that Lindisfarne Priory went out of use, and stones from the priory were used as building material. It is very small by the usual standards, and was more of a fort.
The castle sits on the highest point of the island, a whinstone hill called Beblowe.
Lindisfarne’s position in the North Sea made it vulnerable to attack from Scots and Norsemen, and by Tudor times it was clear there was a need for a stronger fortification, although obviously, by this time, the Norsemen were no longer a danger. This resulted in the creation of the fort on Beblowe Crag between 1570 and 1572 which forms the basis of the present castle.
After Henry VIII suppressed the priory, his troops used the remains as a naval store. In 1542 Henry VIII ordered the Earl of Rutland to fortify the site against possible Scottish invasion.
Elizabeth I then had work carried out on the fort, strengthening it and providing gun platforms for the new developments in artillery technology.
These works in 1570 and 1571 cost £1191. When James I came to power in England, he combined the Scottish and English thrones, and the need for the castle declined. At this time the castle was still garrisoned from Berwick and protected the small Lindisfarne Harbour.
In the eighteenth century the castle was occupied briefly by Jacobite rebels, but was quickly recaptured by soldiers from Berwick who imprisoned the rebels; they dug their way out and hid for nine days close to nearby Bamburgh Castle before making good their escape.
via Lindisfarne Castle – Wikipedia

Ancient Ruins of Dolbadarn Castle, Wales.

Already in ruins by the time it was captured in glowing colors by romantic painter J. M. W. Turner in 1802, Dolbadarn Castle dates back to the days of the legendary Welsh ruler Llywelyn the Great in the 13th century.
The 50-foot tower of Dolbadarn Castle watched over the Llanberis Mountain Pass.
Once a strategic stronghold, it’s now mostly popular with rock climbers and outdoor adventurers who come to explore the craggy landscape.
In 1284 the castle was seized by Edward I during his invasion and conquest of Wales.
Although the castle remained a manor house until into the 14th century, the slow decline of the fortress began when Edward removed some timber to add to the construction of his great castle at Caernarfon, his seat of power.
Source: Dolbadarn Castle Ruins – Llanberis, Wales – Atlas Obscura

Swallow’s Nest Castle.

swallows-nest-ukraine_75303_990x742Swallow’s Nest Castle, Ukraine
Photograph by Jane Sweeney, JAI/Corbis
The neo-Gothic Swallow’s Nest castle perches 130 feet above the Black Sea near Yalta in southern Ukraine.
Built by a German noble in 1912, the flamboyant seaside residence is now a popular tourist destination.
via Travel 365: Most Popular Photos of January 2014 — National Geographic.

Castle Frankenstein, Mühltal.

Image Credit: Photograph by Pascal Rehfeldt
Johann Konrad Dippel was rumoured to create potions, perform electrical therapies, and partake in gruesome experiments involving stolen body parts from the graveyard.
Born in the Castle Frankenstein in 1673, it’s disputed whether or not he was the inspiration for Mary Shelley’s mad scientist of the same name, who did some cadaver experiments of his own.
What is sure about Dippel is his colourful career as an alchemist. He attached his name to Dippel’s Animal Oil, which he discovered from the destructive distillation of animal parts and claimed as a universal medicine.
The animal oil came at the end of a wave of popularity for Iatrochemistry, which had moved alchemy from the search for creating gold to finding new medicines.
The unpleasant taste and smell, as well as the progression of medicine, made Dippel’s oil fall into disrepute by the end of the 18th century. Dippel later helped set up a laboratory in Berlin for making gold and, at one point, he ended up in prison on a Danish island for seven years due to political activities.
In 1734, he finally had a stroke and died at the Castle Wittgenstein near Berleburg, although his friends claimed he was poisoned. By his own hand or that of another, it is unclear.
The Castle Frankenstein is now in ruins, with only two towers, a restaurant and a chapel remaining. However, the perhaps mythical connection to Mary Shelley’s novel “Frankenstein” keeps it a popular destination, especially for Halloween.
Source: Castle Frankenstein – Mühltal, Germany – Atlas Obscura

Castles in Slovenia, Spain & Germany.

exploringthearth

Predjama Castle, Slovenia
http://goo.gl/7F25ug
This renaissance castle was built into a rock near the town of Postojna, Slovenia. It was built in the stone wall to make access to it more difficult.
There is also a secret shaft leading out of the castle.
opentravel
Segovia Castle, Spain  
http://goo.gl/r8hjaJ
This monumental stone fortress located near the town of Segovia, Spain, is one of the most famous castles in the Iberian Peninsula.
Thanks to its distinctive shape, it became one of the inspirations for Disney´s Cinderella Castle.
neuschwanstein_winter_marys
Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany 
http://goo.gl/IObvqF
The Neuschwanstein Castle’s fairytale-like look makes it one of the most popular tourist attractions in Germany with more than 1.3 million visitors every year.
Look how incredibly impressive it is in winter!
See more Images via 25 Astounding Fairytale-Like European Castles and Chateaus.