This week we explore the castles of Europe, covering the east and the west. They were home to Royal and Noble families, but some of them hold some dark, bloody stories.
Alhambra de Granada, Spain
Originally built as a small fortress, it was converted into a Royal Palace by Yusuf I, Sultan of Granada in 1333. Moorish poets at the time described it as a ‘pearl set in emeralds,’ making reference to the green forests which hugged tightly around the pale complexion of the palace walls.
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Spiš Castle, Slovakia
Though only the ruins of the castle remain, it is one of the biggest castle complexes in Europe by area, 41,426msq (445,904sqft).
A photo posted by MauricFoto (@mauricfoto) on
Bran Castle, Romania
Situated on the border of Transylvannia and Wallachia, the castle was home to Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia. The name doesn’t ring a bell? How about Vlad the Impaler? Or Vlad Dracul?
Bram Stoker’s work of fiction, Dracula, was inspired by the castle and by its most famous occupant. Now commonly reffered to as “Dracula’s Castle,” it lends itself to the vampire mythology- a fitting home for a blood-sucking creature of the night.
Blarney Castle, Ireland
You probably know the saying luck of the Irish, but what about gift of the gab? It is said that kissing the Blarney Stone would bestow one with the gift of eloquence and beautiful speech. If you fancy a visit, just bear in mind that thousands before you have laid their lips upon the stone – pucker up!
Pena Palace, Portugal
Atop a hill in the Sintra Mountains, this beautifully coloured palace can be seen from Lisbon on a clear day. Its unique design is marked by the many shapes that line the head of the castle – the square clock tower which rises behind the cylindrical bastion, topped with its distinctive blue dome. It is used today as a venue for state functions and official dinners with heads of state.