Central and Eastern European countries share only one historical commonalty, they have been socialist countries for many decades. However, their architectural heritage is quite diverse and the region houses some of the most impressive castles in the world. Each of these countries possesses impressive numbers of fortresses, castles and palaces, so picking just six of them is quite a burden. Nevertheless, here are six impressive Central and Eastern European castles.
1. Prague Castle – Czech Republic
Prague Castle is listed as the largest ancient castle in the world by Guinness Book of Records, with an area of approximately 70.000 square meters. The first parts of the castle were erected in 870 AD. The castle is actually an ensemble of religious and administrative buildings. As a result, the architectural style is quite diverse and presents traces of influential trends from the last millennium. Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors used to reside there and now the castle houses the President of the Czech Republic.
2. Buda Castle – Hungary
The impressive Hungarian castle located in Budapest is old as well. The first completed version is dated back to the year 1265. The hilly castle location allowed Hungarian kings and rulers to have the best gaze over their closest subjects from Pest, located just across the Danube. The present shape of the main building was given in the 19th century. The whole area surrounding the castle is classified as a Unesco World Heritage Site, as it contains well preserved medieval and baroque buildings.
3. Hunyad Castle – Romania
The Gothic Renaissance castle is located roughly in the middle of Romania in the Southern Transylvanian city of Hunedoara. The region itself is filled with medieval castles, but the Hunyad Castle is one of the most impressive, even if Bran Castle is probably more famous. Vlad the Impaler, Bram Stoker’s inspiration for the Dracula myth, was held prisoner here for a while by Hungarian leaders. Hunyad Castle was built in 1446, while the last modifications were made in the 19th century. This castle is considered to be one of the most fairy-tale like Eastern European castles.
4. Malbork Castle – Poland
The 13th century castle is famous for a couple of reasons. Marlbork Castle is the largest brick building in Europe. Moreover, it is the largest castle in the world by surface area, taking all its adjacent buildings into account. The castle was completed in 1406 by Teutonic Knights, making it one of the most impressive Central and Eastern European Castles. The Teutonic Order who founded the castle called it Marienburg (Mary’s Castle) and the reason they chose this location was to exert influence over the newly conquered territory. What an impressive statement!
5. Bratislava Castle – Slovakia
The second castle from this list neighboring the Danube is the pride of Slovakia. The castle site connects the Carpathians and the Alps so the region is inhabited for several thousand years. The earliest efforts to erect the castle date back to the 9th century. During the 11th and 12th centuries, a pre-Romanesque stone palace is mentioned to have been placed on the site. Maria Theresa was the last ruler to have the widest influence over Bratislave Castle, which was turned into a luxurious Rococo structure. A fire destroyed the castle in 1811, which was partially rebuilt in the 1950s and 1960s.
6. Otocec Castle – Slovenia
Otocec castle is the only water castle from Slovenia. The 13th century building has a certain charm which helped it become a successful five stars hotel. Otocec Castle lies on an island on the Iazy Krka River. Historically, lords and noblemen inhabited it and the present day aspect was shaped during the Renaissance. The classical castle doesn’t need thorough description, as the picture accurately conveys the dreamy atmosphere only a water castle can possess.