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Friday, April 29, 2011

THE ENCHANTMENT OF THE CASTLES

I wish a Royal Day for you Darling!!!

I definitely didn’t grow up in a castle, nor did I make sand castles… and I did not have fairytale books with stories of castles and princesses. But as most young girls did, I grew up dreaming about castles and princesses. I don’t know where this comes from… I guess most girls want to live in a castle and most boys want to find a princess, riding their strong white horses… Well, I am not a child, nor a young girl anymore, but I still get fascinated about the enchantment and splendor of  castles and their surroundings.

…And speaking about royal weddings, castles, princesses and princes, I would like to share my research about castles. Here are some of my favorite ones!

A Sand Castle


Neuschwanstein Castle (German: Schloss Neuschwanstein, pronounced [nɔʏˈʃvaːnʃtaɪn]) is a 19th-century Gothic Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner. The palace was intended as a personal refuge for the reclusive king, but it was opened to the paying public immediately after his death in 1886.[1] Since then over 60 million people have visited Neuschwanstein Castle.[2] More than 1.3 million people visit annually, with up to 6,000 per day in the summer.[3] The palace has appeared prominently in several movies and was the inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle[4] and later, similar structures.



Mont Saint Michel   (English: Saint Michael's Mount) is a rocky tidal island and a commune in Normandy, France. It is located approximately one kilometre (just over half a mile) off the country's north coast, at the mouth of the Couesnon River near Avranches. The population of the island is 41, as of 2006. The island has been a strategic point holding fortifications since ancient times, and since the 8th century AD it became the seat of the Saint-Michel monastery, from which it draws the name.


Prague Castle  (Czech: Pražský hrad) is a castle in Prague where the Kings of Bohemia, Holy Roman Emperors and presidents of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic have had their offices. The Bohemian Crown Jewels are kept here. Prague Castle is one of the biggest castles in the world (according to Guinness Book of Records the biggest ancient castle)[1] at about 570 meters in length and an average of about 130 meters wide.


Château de Chambord  at Chambord, Loir-et-Cher, France is one of the most recognizable châteaux in the world because of its very distinct French Renaissance architecture which blends traditional French medieval forms with classical Italian structures.[nb 1]
The building, which was never completed, was constructed by King François I in part to be near to his mistress the Comtesse de Thoury, Claude Rohan, wife of Julien de Clermont, a member of a very important family of France, whose domaine, the château de Muides, was adjacent.[nb 2] Her arms figure in the carved decor of the château. Chambord is the largest château in the Loire Valley; it was built to serve as a hunting lodge for François I, who maintained his royal residences at Château de Blois and Château d'Amboise. The original design of the Château de Chambord is attributed, though with several doubts, to Domenico da Cortona. Some authors claim that the French Renaissance architect Philibert Delorme had a considerable role in the château's design,[2] and others have
suggested that Leonardo da Vinci may have designed it.



Himeji (外国語ページ) is a hilltop Japanese castle complex located in Himeji in Hyōgo Prefecture. The castle is regarded as the finest surviving example of prototypical Japanese castle architecture, comprising a network of 83 buildings with advanced defensive systems from the feudal period.[8] The castle is frequently known as Hakurojō ("White Egret Castle") or Shirasagijō ("White Heron Castle") because of its brilliant white exterior and supposed resemblance to a bird taking flight.[6][9].  Himeji Castle dates to 1333, when Akamatsu Norimura built a fort on top of Himeyama hill. The fort was dismantled and rebuilt as Himeyama Castle in 1346, and then remodeled into Himeji Castle two centuries later. Himeji Castle was then significantly remodeled in 1581 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who added a three-story castle keep. In 1600, Tokugawa Ieyasu awarded the castle to Ikeda Terumasa for his help in the Battle of Sekigahara, and Ikeda completely rebuilt the castle from 1601 to 1609, expanding it into a large castle complex.[2] Several buildings were later added to the castle complex by Honda Tadamasa from 1617 to 1618.[4] For over 400 years, Himeji Castle has remained intact, even throughout the extensive bombing of Himeji in World War II, and natural disasters such as the 1995 Great Hanshin earthquake.[2][7][10].  Himeji Castle is the largest and most visited castle in Japan, and it was registered in 1993 as one of the first UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the country.[7] The area within the middle moat of the castle complex is a designated Special Historic Site and five structures of the castle are also designated National Treasures.[4][11] Along with Matsumoto Castle and Kumamoto Castle, Himeji Castle is considered one of Japan's three premier castles.[12] In order to preserve the castle buildings, it is currently undergoing restoration work that is expected to continue for several years.[7]


Windsor Castle is a medieval castle and royal residence in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, notable for its long association with the British royal family and its architecture. The original castle was built after the Norman invasion by William the Conqueror, and since the time of Henry I it has been used by a succession of monarchs; it is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. The castle's lavish, early 19th-century State Apartments are architecturally significant, described by art historian Hugh Roberts as "a superb and unrivalled sequence of rooms widely regarded as the finest and most complete expression of later Georgian taste".[1] The castle includes the 15th-century St George's Chapel, considered by historian John Robinson to be "one of the supreme achievements of English Perpendicular Gothic" design.[2] More than five hundred people live and work in Windsor, making it the largest inhabited castle in the world.  Originally designed to protect Norman dominance around the outskirts of London, and to oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames, Windsor Castle was built as a motte and bailey, with three wards surrounding a central mound. Gradually replaced with stone fortifications, the castle withstood a prolonged siege during the First Barons' War at the start of the 13th century. Henry III built a luxurious royal palace within the castle during the middle of the century, and Edward III went further, rebuilding the palace to produce an even grander set of buildings in what would become "the most expensive secular building project of the entire Middle Ages in England".[3] Edward's core design lasted through the Tudor period, during which Henry VIII and Elizabeth I made increasing use of the castle as a royal court and centre for diplomatic entertainment.  Windsor Castle survived a tumultuous period during the English Civil War, in which the castle was used as a military headquarters for Parliamentary forces and a prison for Charles I. During the Restoration, Charles II rebuilt much of Windsor Castle with the help of architect Hugh May, creating a set of extravagant, Baroque interiors, still praised today. After a period of neglect during the 18th century, George III and George IV renovated and rebuilt Charles II's palace at colossal expense, producing the current design of the State Apartments, full of Rococo, Gothic and Baroque furnishings. Queen Victoria made minor changes to the castle, which became the centre for royal entertainment for much of her reign. Windsor Castle was used as a refuge for the royal family during the bombing campaigns of the Second World War and survived a fire in 1992. It is a popular tourist attraction, a venue for hosting state visits, and the Queen's preferred weekend home.


The Alcázar de Segovia (literally, Segovia Castle) is a stone fortification, located in the old city of Segovia, Spain. Rising out on a rocky crag above the confluence of the rivers Eresma and Clamores near the Guadarrama mountains, it is one of the most distinctive castle-palaces in Spain by virtue of its shape - like the bow of a ship. The Alcázar was originally built as a fortress but has served as a royal palace, a state prison, a Royal Artillery College and a military academy since then.  The Alcázar of Segovia, like many fortifications in Spain, started off as an Arab fort, but little of that structure remains. The first reference to this particular Alcázar was in 1120, around 32 years after the city of Segovia returned to Christian hands (during the time when Alfonso VI of Castile reconquered lands to the south of the Duero river down to Toledo and beyond). However, archaeological evidence suggests that the site of this Alcázar was once used in Roman times as a fortification. This theory is further substantiated by the presence of Segovia's famous Roman Aqueduct.  The shape and form of the Alcázar was not known until the reign of King Alfonso VIII (1155–1214), however early documentation mentioned a wooden stockade fence. It can be concluded that prior to Alfonso VIII's reign, it was no more than a wooden fort built over the old Roman foundations. Alfonso VIII and his wife, Eleanor of Plantagenet made this Alcázar their principal residence and much work was carried out to erect the beginnings of the stone fortification we see today.


Eilean Donan Castle  (Scottish Gaelic: Eilean Donnáin) is a small island in Loch Duich in the western Highlands of Scotland. It is connected to the mainland by a footbridge and lies about half a mile from the village of Dornie. Eilean Donan (which means simply "island of Donnán") is named after Donnán of Eigg, a Celtic saint martyred in 617. The island is dominated by a picturesque castle which is widely familiar from many photographs and appearances in film and television. It is part of the Kintail National Scenic Area, one of 40 in Scotland.[2]



Chateu of Chenonceau (French: [ʃa.to də ʃə.nɔ̃.so]) is a manor house near the small village of Chenonceaux, in the Indre-et-Loire département of the Loire Valley in France. It was built on the site of an old mill on the River Cher, sometime before its first mention in writing in the 11th century. The current manor was designed by the French Renaissance architect Philibert Delorme.


 Cinderella Castle Walt Disney is the fairy tale castle at the center of two Disney theme parks: the Magic Kingdom at the Walt Disney World Resort, and Tokyo Disneyland at the Tokyo Disney Resort. Both serve as worldwide recognized icons and the flagship attraction for their respective theme parks. Cinderella Castle was inspired by a variety of real and fictional castles. These included Fontainebleau, Versailles and the chateaus of Chenonceau, Chambord and Chaumont, as well as Castle Neuschwanstein, Bavaria, and Alcázar of Segovia, Castile and León (Spain), the oldest of all, which is 9 centuries old. The chief designer of the Castle, Herbert Ryman, also referenced the original design for the castle in the film Cinderella and his own well-known creation — the Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland in California.[1]


CREDITS: All information about the castles taken from: WIKIPEDIA - The Free Encyclopedia

WHICH CASTLE WOULD YOU PICK TO LIVE...PRINCESS?
WHICH CASTLE WOULD YOU TAKE YOUR PRINCESS TO...HANDSOME PRINCE?




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