Castles on the sand: 7 famous palaces on the coast
The coasts of the seas have long been considered a great place to create a fortified castle in order to protect the territory, and at the same time create wonderful housing for the ruler with excellent views of the azure distance.
Many of the castles served as fortifications, because their appearance is somewhat harsh. But still, these are magnificent buildings with numerous towers and thick walls, standing on steep cliffs or at the very edge of the water.
Dunnottar Castle, Scotland
Dunnottar is a medieval castle located on the northeast coast of Scotland. It is literally inscribed in the surrounding area – it is built on top of a rock and part of this very rock strengthens its walls. Dannotar managed to visit the administrative center, and the castle, and the palace, and even the tribal settlement, and the date of its construction remains unknown.
Incredibly, Dunnothar looks at sunset when the sun’s rays golden the roofs of its towers and the slopes of the cliff. Two roads lead to the castle – one through a fortified gorge, and the second through a cave in coastal cliffs. Dannotar has, like every self-respecting castle, and ghosts: a girl in a green dress, a Viking and dirhound (Scottish reindeer greyhound).
This castle is the place where you can fully experience the spirit of Morocco. The white-walled Medina, surrounded by huge pink sandstone ramparts, a rich Portuguese and Andalusian heritage, numerous ancient alleys – Essaouira is rich in the sights of a real hot eastern city.
Thanks to long sandy beaches and a busy port, colorful fishing boats, Essaouira has long been a favorite vacation spot for the creative elite, and since the 1970s it has become a stronghold of hippies, calling the area “the city of eternal spring.” Nowadays, international surfing competitions are successfully held here.
Castle Torre de Belem, Portugal
Castle Torre de Belem is a symbol of the era of the great geographical discoveries of Portugal and the emblem of its capital Lisbon. The tower, built to protect the harbor entrance, was the starting point for ships sailing. Together with the nearby monastery, Torre de Belem was named one of the seven wonders of Portugal.
The Belen Tower was built in Moorish style on the rocky ledge of a small island in 1521, and a few years later a rectangular bastion with numerous turrets was created. The castle was used as a prison, customs, barracks, and then as a lighthouse. If you go up to the top floor of the tower, you will have a wonderful panoramic view of the estuary and the western part of Lisbon.
Mont Saint Michel, France
The fortified island of Mont Saint-Michel is called the pearl of Christianity, and the outline of its towers is known to almost everyone. The castle is located on the coast of Normandy, on an island that is almost completely cut off from the mainland and only at low tide can you approach it on foot.
Unlike other French castles, Mont Saint-Michel was founded as a monastery, and was built in the style of “flaming Gothic” by 1521. In 1791 the monastery fell into disrepair and the monks left it. Today, an island with a castle attracts a huge number of tourists.
One of the few surviving ancient castles in Spain is Castell de Belver, which offers one of the best sea views in the city of Palma de Mallorca. The castle is more than 700 years old, and it has been preserved almost in its original form.
Belver has a round shape and a defensive exterior, three large towers and unique architectural features. In history, the castle was used as a military prison until the 1950s. Today in the castle is an art museum of the city.
Akko Fortress, Israel
The fortified city of Acre is located in the north of Haifa Bay and was once the leading port of the Mediterranean Sea. For centuries, various peoples occupied the fortress, and the abundance of historical attractions is not inferior to Jerusalem.
Once archaeologists found a whole crusader hall with massive columns, and today a memorial museum of the history of the fortress and prison is open. The ancient complex of the fortress consists of an 18th-century inn where caravans of camels stopped delivering grain from Galilee and numerous towers, a mosque and the underground city of the crusaders, where the Knights’ Hall of the Hospitallers is located.
Edikule Castle (translated from Turkish as “Seven-Tower Castle”) was one of the most important defense fortresses of Byzantium, and its Golden Gate served as a triumphal arch during solemn processions and imperial ceremonies.
Edikule was founded in 1458 to protect the treasury, and also to control access to Constantinople from the west. After several decades, the treasury and archives were moved to another place, and Edicule began to be used as a prison until 1831.
Today in Edikule is a museum. In the summer, concerts are held in the courtyard, and the gates of the Byzantine Istanbul are still preserved almost intact.
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