"Castles of the World" Personal Page by iwys
I've always loved castles. They have fascinated me since I was a small boy. My all-time favourite Christmas present was the model castle my father built for me from wood. I remember listening to him hammering away in the garden shed, working on the secret present and the hundreds of hours I later spent playing with toy soldiers and armies of marbles in my castle. The earliest personal photo I have of a castle is one of me standing proudly in a sentry box at Windsor Castle.
The most perfect castle I have ever seen is the Crusader castle of Crac des Chevaliers in Syria. Its outer walls are 100 feet thick.
*Whenever people ask me what is the most impressive tourist attraction in London, I unhesitatingly answer, the Tower of London. It is not only a magnificent building, but it is also dripping with history. The White Tower at the heart of the castle is nearly one thousand years old.
Castles in the Far East were usually built of wood and so few have survived in their original condition. My favourite Far Eastern castle is Nijo Castle in Kyoto, possibly because visiting it brought to live again scenes from James Clavell's "Shogun".
In Africa there are many coastal castles built by European colonial powers, but the African castles I like best are the indiginenous Berber ones that you find in the deserts of North Africa.
Sometimes, in spite of their bloody history, castles can seem beautiful and romantic. One of the prettiest I have seen is the Sea Castle at Sidon in Southern Lebanon.
Some castles are, in effect fortified cities. Carcassone in France is a stunning example, but unfortunately, I visited it without a camera. Another less well-known one is Hwaseong Fortress at the fortified city of Suwon in South Korea, which was built to protect the southern approach to Seoul from Japanese invaders. Its walls are nearly 6km long. I know because I walked around them one cold winter's day.
Some countries are renowned for their castles. Two, which seem to have some of the greatest ever built are Syria and Wales.
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