Wales washed by sea waves in ancient times was inhabited by proud and warlike Celts. For many centuries this people fought for their independence. Therefore, among the beautiful mountain scenery on the shores of the bustling seashore and fantastic lakes, numerous defensive structures were erected. Later, in their place, the conquerors built majestic castles. We offer top 5 most famous.
Top 10 castles of Wales
10. Raglan Castle
Raglan Castle, towering above the countryside, where it is almost never crowded, can be seen from a few miles away. The central part of the castle is the Great Tower, or the Yellow Tower of Gwent. It is surrounded by a moat, across which there is a bridge. Also, the tower is surrounded by an additional wall with six turrets, rising right above the water. Now the tower has three floors. Initially, there was another floor with a jagged parapet on top, but it slowly collapsed. Raglan is one of the last castles built in the Middle Ages in Wales. The construction of the fortress began in 1430 under the leadership of Sir William Thomas, Knight of Gwent, and continued until 1525. William was a Welsh knight who fought in the ranks of King Henry V at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.
9. Caernarfon Castle
Caernarfon castle of is one of the most impressive castles of King Edward I and one of the greatest fortresses in Europe. Located on a peninsula, surrounded by the waters of the Menai Strait, which separates the island of Anglesey from North Wales, the castle is an invariable symbol of Wales resistance against the domination of England. Its story began even before the Romans came to Welsh lands. By the way, it was in the walls of Caernarfon that the title "Prince of Wales" was born, which is now traditionally passed to the heirs of the British throne along with the royal crown. And the first Prince of Wales was the son of Edward I in 1301. Outside, a huge medieval castle seems completely unaffected, but inside it is a ruin. If you approach it from the sea and stand under the mighty walls, it looks exactly as the medieval Welshmen saw it.
8. Harlech Castle
Harlech Castle is located in the north-west of Wales, in Gwynedd County, in the town of Harlech. The construction of the castle was started in 1283 by order of the King of England Edward I immediately after the successful completion of the second Welsh expedition to North Wales, undertaken by the monarch to suppress the Welsh revolt. Harlech Castle became part of the so-called Iron Ring, consisting of the castles of Caernarfon, Conwy, Beaumaris and other fortresses erected to strengthen English influence in Wales. Harlech is an example of a castle of a concentric type. Its location was chosen in such a way that only on the east side, the castle does not have a natural barrier in the form of rocky cliffs. The main entrance to the castle was guarded by twinned D-shaped towers. In addition to the towers, the entrance aperture was equipped with three lowering bars and holes-killers.
7. Conwy Castle
One of the most unapproachable medieval castles in North Wales is undoubtedly the medieval Conwy. Its powerful walls were erected in the era of the British Conqueror King Edward I. In the same period, from about 1238 to 1289, fortifications, as well as houses, public buildings, streets and the central market of Conwy were built. Today, the magnificent citadel towers above the adjoining buildings, which combine the spirit of the Middle Ages and modern trends. Fortress fortifications of Conwy encircle all the city territory. The length of the walls is almost a mile. They are decorated with 21 towers, located at regular intervals. The castle is included in the list of few medieval fortresses that have survived to our time in good condition.
6. Caerphilly Castle
Caerphilly is one of the largest fortresses of the classical Middle Ages in the UK, located in Wales. But this is far not the most famous British castle, in large part because for a long time it was abandoned. At the same time, Caerphilly is very well preserved, and its size really surprises. But it is also interesting that the real history of the castle was very short. Literally, once it was built, it was no longer needed. The castle has an unusual architecture and it is believed that it strongly influenced the further development of fortification in the UK. The fortress is located on an artificial island, which was previously a river bank. It is relatively compact, has an innovative for that time concentric layout with a huge eastern gate-corps de garde.
5. Penrhyn Castle
The building of Penrhyn Castle in the form in which it is known now, appeared in the county of Gwynedd in the first half of the XIX century, but the history of the manor itself in Llandegai dates back to the High Middle Ages. In place of the modern castle in the early 13th century, a fortified estate was built, which belonged to the famous Welsh warrior Ednifed Feichain. After the conquest of Wales by King Edward I, the Penrhyn estate changed several owners, including representatives of the ancient clan of Welsh rulers, the descendants of Llywelyn and Gruffudd. In the 40s of the 17th century a stone castle first appeared in the estate. Strict gray walls of Penrhyn castle, which is a sample of the neo-Norman style, hide the extraordinary luxury and comfort of the interior. The castle belongs to those historical buildings, along which you can walk for hours and look into every corner.
4. Cardiff Castle
The history of the Cardiff Castle dates back more than 2000 years and reminds of the Roman trace in the history of Wales. Conquering the local tribes who arrived here in the I century, the Roman legions occupied the territory of South Wales and built the first fortification on the shores of Bristol Bay. And in the middle of the III century, a new fortress with thick stone walls was erected on this place, which for two centuries, until the Romans left this area in the V century, had an important strategic significance protecting the borders of the empire from barbarian raids from the sea. For many centuries Cardiff Castle, like the city itself, passed from hand to hand, having been in the possession of many titled persons. One such was Richard de Beauchamp, who is called the jailer of La Pucelle d'Orléans. Jeanne d'Arc, before the execution, was imprisoned at the place, where Richard Beauchamp was a captain. He was also one of those who held court in Rouen against the famous Frenchwoman.
3. Pembroke Castle
Pembroke Castle is located in the same town in Pembrokeshire, Wales. In Pembroke Castle, the future Henry VII was born, the founder of the English royal dynasty of the Tudors. In 1138 the castle became the property of the Gilbert de Claire family and to this day is the largest private castle in Wales. Until now, only a part of the elements of the castle complex have survived, which give an idea of the power and grandeur of the once formidable citadel.
2. Bodelwyddan Castle
Bodelwyddan Castle was built in 1460, but in 1820 it was rebuilt, given the look of a real Norman castle. Currently there is an art gallery here. Whispering ghosts, dark figures and ghosts of soldiers - this is enough to put the castle of Bodelwyddan on top of the rating of the most terrible castles in the world, given the fact that, according to legend, its walls were built on human bones. For many years, the manor of XV century also served as a private residence, a hospital during the World War First, and a private women's school, and even a museum.
1. Castell Coch
Castell Coch in Welsh means "Red Castle". This wonderful romantic creation of the Victorian era was designed by architect William Burgess, for the 3rd Marquis Bute. However, the castle is not a pure figment of imagination of a well-known architect, it was rebuilt from the ruins of a medieval castle, being almost a copy of its predecessor - at least externally. Little is known about the history of the first medieval castle. Coch, built by the architect William Burgess, looks like a typical medieval castle, as we imagine it – with strong walls, round towers, a lowering grate and a lifting bridge. The castle managed to obtain a true medieval look, but its richly decorated interiors are done in a purely Victorian style.