The Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork is one of the most famous medieval castles in Europe. At the time of its completion (1406) it was the largest brick castle in the world. It was built by the Teutonic Order after the conquest of Old Prussia (not to be confused with the late Duchy of Prussia). It become the inspiration for many subsequent Teutonic castles and other Gothic buildings in north-eastern Europe. It is a symbol of power and cultural tradition as well as a representation of the drama of Christianity in the late Middle Ages. The magnitude and the size of Malbork Castle is unbelievable.
2. Tattershall Castle, England
By Brian from UK (Tattershall Castle, Tatterhsall, Lincolnshire) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
The castle has its origins probably in a stone castle built in 1231 by Robert de Tattershall. In 15th century Ralph, 3rd Lord Cromwell, Treasurer of England decided to expand the building using bricks, introduced to Englishmen by Flemish weavers. There was plenty of stone in the area so the reason to use bricks was rather a fashion that a necessity. The main part of the castle – the Great Tower – still remains, together with the moat. It has four floors, slightly increasing in size thanks to the reduction of wall thickness. The parlor on the ground floor used to be the place where local tenants would pay the rent. Nowadays you can organize a civil wedding in there.
3. Häme Castle, Finland
Lauri Rantala [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], Wikimedia Commons
Although today Häme Castle is located in the city center originally it was built on an island. The construction of the brick castle was probably started after the Novgorod invasion in 1311. From 14th century to the end of 16th century Häme Castle was an important fortification in the area of today’s Finland. In 19th century the castle was transformed into a prison. From 1956 to 1988 Häme Castle has been restored and today it is a museum. It offers the opportunity to rent some of it facilities for private events.
This great example of late medieval architecture combines Flamboyant Gothic and Islamic styles. It was build in a plain surface on the bank of rivers Voltoya and Eresma. There are two curtain walls on a rectangular plan and a keep called the Tower of Homage. Its upper parts are decorated in Islamic style. Coca castle became a national monument in 1931. Now there is a training school for foresters in the castle. Nevertheless you can still visit it but only with a guided tour.
5. Este Castle (Castello Estense), Italy
By Sailko (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
According to the legend, the decision of the Este family to build a new castle in Ferrara was made after a civil riot in 14th century. After the departure of the family to Modena the castle became a residence of the papal legate. Castello Estense was bought from the state by the Province of Ferrara. It became the headquarters of the province. The castle had been heavily damaged during the World War II but it was later reconstructed. The castle dungeons were used as prisons. In 1425 Ugo d’Este and his young stepmother Parisina Malatesta were discovered as lovers and kept there shortly before their execution.
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